By Oliver Lyttelton | www.oliverlyttelton.com November 8, 2012 at 12:27PM
Ah, Brett Ratner. The much-beloved filmmaker behind such fondly remembered classics as "Rush Hour," "Rush Hour 2" and "Rush Hour 3" is so popular among the film blogging community that every one of his new projects is greeted with a collective 'huzzah!' on the Internet. His fine eye for material, and Scorsese/De Niro-like relationship with Chris Tucker has seen him pick up glowing reviews for films like the Frank Capra-esque "Family Man," the Bryan Singer-esque "X-Men: The Last Stand," and the Brett Ratner-esque "Tower Heist."
And yet a year on from the release of the latter, little firm word had arrived of a latest potential project for this Hal Ashby of the 21st century, particularly after a Dreyfus Affair-style witchhunt saw him removed from his position as producer of the 2012 Oscars after being quoted as saying that "rehearsal is for fags," which was read as a homophobic remark, but in context clearly meant that Ratner likes to smoke British cigarettes while in the rehearsal room. Fortunately, we don't have too much longer to wait for another film from this generation's Billy Wilder, as The Hollywood Reporter has announced that, just as the great patrons in the Renaissance era would fund work from Da Vinci and Raphael, Paramount is teaming up with MGM to produce Ratner's long-gestating "Hercules" movie.
Originally a Peter Berg project, this adaptation of the comic book "Hercules: The Thracian Wars," which takes a more grounded approach to the Greek legend, has been in the works for a while, but with Dwayne 'the next Olivier' Johnson officially on board the project and financing in place, filming looks likely to get underway in the early part of 2013. The script was originally penned by Ryan Condal (the unmade "Paradise Lost,") with a rewrite from Evan Spiliotopolous ("Snow White and the Huntsman"), because as we all know, the more writers are on a movie, the better it is!
"Hercules" looks likely to hit theaters in 2015, at which point there will be no longer any point in watching "Ben Hur" or "Spartacus," because Dr. Ratner will have made them obsolete.