Has Brett Ratner’s Luck Finally Run Out?

on November 09 2011 6:12 PM

For possibly the first time in his life, Brett Ratner is facing the consequences of his actions.

The Tower Heist director resigned as producer of the 2012 Academy Awards amidst backlash for his use of a gay slur when describing his leisurely approach to filmmaking.

In a Q&A for Tower Heist, Ratner answered rehearsal's for fags when asked how he prepares for filming.

Of course, this is not the first time Ratner has made an offensive comment -- it's just the first time he has had to pay for it in any meaningful way. Just a few days before his fags remark, Ratner bragged about having banged Olivia Munn, and then forgetting about her.

She was hanging out on my set of 'After the Sunset,' I banged her a few times, Ratner said on Attack of the Show. But I forgot her...because she changed her name...I didn't know it was the same person, so when she came and auditioned for me for a TV show I forgot her, she got pissed off, and she made up all these stories...She's bitter.

Turns out, it was Ratner making up the stories.

A few days later, Ratner admitted in an appalling interview with Howard Stern that he never slept with Munn, and went on to suggest that his Attack of the Show tirade was not meant to slander Munn, but rather to get back at the Attack of the Show staff for setting him up to go after Munn for some unflattering comments about someone who sounded a lot like Ratner in her memoir. (Ratner insisted that someone at G4 showed him the incriminating passages just before his interview, presumably to get him fired up. He also claimed that he later spoke to Munn and she insisted that he is not the shrimp cocktail-loving director described in her book. Munn's twitter feed suggests otherwise.)

Additional Ratner gems from the Stern interview include the director's claim that he is probably the best in the world at performing cunnilingus, and that his taste for unshaven women can be traced back to time spent with his mother at a nudist colony in the seventies:  She had a huge bush, and then I was looking for that for the rest of my life.

The director was on Attack of the Show and The Howard Stern Show, to promote Tower Heist,  which failed to surpass Puss in Boots at the box office in its opening weekend. 

Brett Ratner has not had a very good week.

Of course, it's not as if Ratner has been a Hollywood darling until now. Many are mystified by the director's commercial success, however moderate, as he has a reputation for being more interested in parties and womanizing than he does in perfecting the craft of filmmaking. (Though it should be noted that Ratner does not drink, smoke, or do any drugs.) A Google search for Brett Ratner autocompletes to douchebag before it does director.

From the beginning, Ratner has managed to succeed where others with similar qualifications would surely fail. He admittedly talked his way into NYU film school after initially being rejected due to poor grades, and after being told he should go to community college instead.  Somehow, he convinced the Dean to let him into the program.

While at NYU, Ratner befriended Russell Simmons, whose support and connections would prove instrumental in Ratner's success as a director, first of music videos and eventually feature films. Russell's recommendation landed Ratner his first job directing a movie in 1997 with Money Talks.

Ratner's feature films aim for commercial over critical success.

I love making movies that reach the largest possible audience, he has unabashedly stated. Ratner doesn't claim, or aspire to be, Martin Scorsese or Orson Welles.

Though he certainly is not among the most respected directors in Hollywood, he is one of the better paid. His salary for Rush Hour 3 was $7 million dollars, and he made $8 million (plus a percentage of sales) for X-Men: The Last Stand.

Hollywood will forget this if 'Tower Heist' does well, former producer and film executive Orin Woinsky, speaking of the gay slur controversy, told IBTimes. If Ratner can remain bankable at the box office, this will blow over.

But Ratner isn't taking his chances, and has launched an aggressive damage control campaign.

In addition to his sincere-sounding open letter to the film industry -- where he says having love in your heart doesn't count for much if what comes out of your mouth is ugly and bigoted -- Ratner has partnered with the Gay and Lesbian Alliance Against Defamation (GLAAD) for a series of concrete actions addressing defamatory language in popular culture.

Herndon Graddick, GLAAD's Senior Director of Programs, told IBTimes that he and Ratner had spoken and met in person this week, and said he believes Ratner's regret, and his commitment to making amends, is genuine.

It's a part of life that each one of us has said something that they wish they didn't, said Graddick. I believe Brett when he says he wants to help people understand that this language is unacceptable...What we want to do now is take a negative incident and turn it into something positive.

Graddick said that the details of the public discussions will be announced in the next few days.