Like other men in the entertainment industry accused of sexual misconduct, Brett Ratner appears to be crafting a comeback — in this case just six months after allegations against him first surfaced. His plan: use the franchise that put his name on the map, Rush Hour.
The report comes from THR, who says that Warner Bros. insiders have told them that Ratner has been telling associates that he will direct the fourth film in the series — a boast that has put Warner Bros. and its New Line division in an awkward position.
Studio sources emphatically say Ratner will not direct the fourth Rush Hour film if there is one. One high level studio executive who requested not be named had this to say:
“Brett has been walking around town telling people he’s going to direct a Rush Hour movie because it’s his only way back in. He’s trying to make believe he’s employable.” Putting together a movie with him would be ‘a suicide mission.”
Here is where things get muddled. It seems that, given their long and very close professional and social relationships with the director, neither Warner’s chairman and CEO Kevin Tsujihara nor film studio chairman Toby Emmerich is prepared to tell Ratner that there is no chance of him directing the film. Warner Bros. declined to comment or to rule out Ratner as a possible director for the project. Ratner’s attorney Marty Singer also declined to comment.
Rush Hour producer Arthur Sarkissian says he has long been pressing to make a fourth film in the $850 million-grossing franchise and believes that with the right script, franchise leads Jackie Chan and Chris Tucker will be on board.
Impatient to launch a fourth movie, Sarkissian says he asked the studio to put the project in turnaround and had an agreement in place in 2014 that was never signed. From there, Emmerich suggested that a television series was a better idea than another film. Warners put together a show — without Chan or Tucker — that ran for one season on CBS before being cancelled. The show received mixed reviews.
After this, the studio had decided that another movie was worth making. But then the Harvey Weinstein allegations surfaced and the #MeToo movement became a reality, engulfing Ratner, who was accused of sexual misconduct by several women, including actresses Olivia Munn and Natasha Henstridge. (Ratner has denied the claims and is suing a woman for defamation after she wrote on Facebook that he raped her.)
Sarkissian affirmed Ratner is “not attached” to the project at this point and he doesn’t know why Ratner would tell people that he is directing Rush Hour 4. Asked whether there is any chance Ratner might direct the fourth film, Sarkissian has nothing solid to say. “All I’m interested in is to make the best movie possible.”
Sources confirm that Ratner has been checking in with Warner Bros every month or two to ask about the progress of the project. They once again stated that Ratner will not be helming another Rush Hour should the project come to fruition, but a source says “no one is willing to tell Brett he’s not the director of the picture.”
I’m going to provide a little tidbit here at the end about this story. Brett Ratner has always seemed like the douchebag of Hollywood but this… this is just sad. For a guy to go an commit these heinous acts towards women and then strut around Hollywood proclaimed he’s directing a film that hasn’t even been confirmed yet is just sad. What’s even more infuriating is the fact that Warner Bros. seems to be playing coy when it comes to fully distancing themselves from the director. Only time will tell what comes of Hollywood’s resident rat and the future of the Rush Hour franchise.