If you recall, several months ago we dropped you a bomb as soon as it came across our desk; there was going to be an urban version of Ocean’s Eleven titled Trump Heist with Eddie Murphy in the lead role pulling the heist in Trump Tower with Donald Trump as the villain.
Well, you probably also know that during the last several months, you read how that film transformed from an urban version of Ocean’s Eleven into just a comedy film with the urban idea scrapped.
First Brett Ratner was attached to direct, then slowly the tide changed and the title role went from Murphy to Ben Stiller and the whole urban cast of Martin Lawrence, Chris Tucker, Chris Rock and more went out the window.
Now the news we reported has not only taken shape, it has become reality as the new film titled Tower Heist is now being produced by Universal Pictures and after four years, is aiming Tower Heist for a November production start in New York. Ratner will still direct with Ben Stiller in the lead role as he 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 film’s produced by Imagine Entertainment’s Brian Grazer, and Kim Roth is executive producer. This heist has among its architects some of Hollywood’s top screenwriters: Adam Cooper, Bill Collage, Russell Gewirtz, Rawson Thurber, Ted Griffin, Leslie Dixon, Noah Baumbach and Jeff Nathanson– all of who jumped on board when the film switched from the urban version.
We hear that this film is slightly different as those guys were expert thieves in Ocean’s Eleven. In the new film these are real guys whose talent is they know the inner workings of the building and the people in it.
Ratner, who made Family Man and Red Dragon for Universal, hasn’t directed a feature since 2007’s Rush Hour 3. Ratner hopes to follow Tower Heist with Playboy, the Imagine/Universal film about Playboy Magazine founder Hugh Hefner.
Imagine just wrapped The Dilemma, with Howard directing and Grazer producing the Vince Vaughn-Kevin James comedy; the Jon Favreau-directed Cowboys and Aliens is still shooting with Daniel Craig and Harrison Ford, and next summer starts production on Ballers, the Malcolm Lee-directed film that will star LeBron James.
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