Seeing Ben Stiller get puked on and rehash decade-old jokes in the Little Fockers trailer was pretty sad. Luckily, his career takes a giant leap forward today with the news that he’ll soon be doing a film called Tower Heist with our nation’s finest filmmaker. I speak of course of Brett Ratner. Or as I like to call him, Alfred Itchcock.
Ben Stiller stars as the overworked manager of a luxury building who, along with other staff, lost their pensions to a Bernie Madoff-like Wall Street crook. It so happens that the fraudster is being held under house arrest in the luxury penthouse apartment upstairs, and the manager and four cohorts figure a heist will make them whole.
The project originally got set up under the title Trump Heist, when the intention was for an African American ensemble to target The Donald. Trump got evicted, as did the African American cast idea.
“It has become the quintessential New York heist movie, where a bunch of blue collar employees in a tower building pull off the ultimate heist,” Ratner told me. [yes, who could forget all those blue collar working stiffs who lost their money to Bernie Madoff. –Ed] The move away from Trump really began with Ted Griffin, who, Ratner reminds, originally wrote Ocean’s Eleven for him to direct. “I didn’t get to do that movie, I did Rush Hour instead, but I went back to Ted to do a rewrite, and he wanted to start over. His pitch was so good that I took it to Brian [Grazer], who said, ‘let’s get it right.’ I brought the script to Ben on the Little Fockers set, and said this is perfect for you. He was looking at other projects like Mr. Popper’s Penguins (which went to Jim Carrey), I asked Noah Baumbach to do some specific character work for Ben. Then my Rush Hour guy Jeff Nathanson brought it home.” [Deadline]
Ratner continued, “Jeff Nathanson brought it home. After that we played xBox for while, got hella stoned and just went to town on some Totino’s pizza rolls. Then I passed out for a while. I’m not sure where the script went after that. I think my bro Steve might have it. Yeah, that’s it, you should probably ask Steve.”