Tuesday, November 10, 2009

Brett Ratner Was in Town

I previously mentioned how director Brett Ratner was coming to my campus to talk with students. I was hoping to learn more about some upcoming movies, but his whole speech was on perseverance (much like what Michael Uslan did, but we actually got to talk about movies).

Brett gave a whole schpiel on how he got into NYU and how he got into music videos. He went on to tell stories of meeting Steven Spielberg, getting to work on "Rush Hour" and casting Nick Cage in "The Family Man."

When it came to Q & A time, most people asked how they can get into the Hollywood business as well (some people ran up to him and handed him scripts, business cards and short films). There were three questions that I found interesting though.

One was on how he changed characters that have already been pre-established in previous movies. Mainly he was talking about how to make Anthony Hopkins act like Hannibal Lecter for "Red Dragon." Another good question was dealing with problems with actors on set (he said that Edward Norton is probably the toughest actor to deal with in the film industry).

The last good question was mine, and I know it was good because someone tapped me on the shoulder afterward and said, "Good question." So if two people think so, then it is!

I asked about the recent trend in Hollywood of making tons of remakes and sequels. I asked where the originality had gone Since Ratner was attached to a remake ("Conan") and now is attached to a sequel ("Beverly Hills Cop IV"), which are films that both started off as franchises in the 80's.

"The 70's was a time of innovation," he said. "You could walk into a studio with any artistic film and it would get made. Now the studios want a sure-thing.

"They want remakes and sequels because people like those already established characters," Ratner continued. "A movie in the 70's could have been made for several million dollars. I made 'X-Men 3' with $230 million."

"The studios have all become conglomerates. They've all become pencil-pushers," he said. "But sometimes you get a hit, like my friend Todd Phillips' movie over the summer ['The Hangover']."

"I'll stick to franchises myself," he added.

So that was basically it. Yeah, he came out talking about how he dates supermodels, how he lives in a $20 million mansion and how he owns a whole fleet of expensive cars, but he is living the dream. What it all comes down to though, is not making money, but telling a story.

I wonder what stories Ratner has left to tell (that are not about himself).
More news to come! Catch ya' later!

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