The Sun Also Rises: Brett Ratner

Brett Ratner has led a charmed life. He entered New York University’s acclaimed Tisch School to study filmmaking at 16. Steven Spielberg funded his graduation thesis. He broke into the music video business early and eventually directed over a hundred music videos working with such top talent as Madonna and Mariah Carey. After the Sunset marks his sixth feature film. His films are an eclectic cross-section of international superstars. He is now in a position to pick his projects, choose his stars, and free to make movies true to his vision without compromise. Brett Ratner has led a charmed life.

Of course Ratner did earn the grades and graduate high school early to get in to NYU. And Spielberg did cut him a check because he diligently sent out letters soliciting producers for finishing funds. His highly acclaimed short, “Whatever Happened to Mason Reese”, opened the doors to the music video industry. His reputation for handling projects and stars earned him a shot at feature films. And he has scored studios truckloads of cash with a series of wildly successful films. So Ratner may have earned some of the charms that have come to him.

Speaking with Ratner by telephone it is immediately obvious that he is enjoying himself, but while he is enjoying the limos, red carpets, and all-star girlfriends, what he is most excited by is the work. He loves film and is using his success not to turn Hollywood nightlife upside down, but to get the projects he wants and do them the way he wants them done.

For a guy coming up through the music video scene and touted as a young gun and the next big thing Ratner is surprisingly congenial, thoughtful, and humble. Ratner gives his crew massive credit allowing them to share in his success, “Everybody on my crew are filmmakers in their own right. People that I can really learn from…That’s an important trait I find in crew people that I hire.” The evidence that this is more than lip service his longstanding relationships with solid Hollywood professionals. Many of his key crew people have worked on all of his feature films. “I’ve had alot of the same crews.  My AD (James M. Freitag) has done all six of my films; my editor (Mark Helfrich) has done all six of my films; my DP, Dante Spinotti, I’ve worked with him three times now. They’re really amazing people.”

When asked about why he chose his latest project he quickly jokes, “Salma Hayek in a bikini.” Maybe it is his laid-back style that keeps cast and crew coming back. “It’s hard making a movie. So I keep it fun so people enjoy coming to work, “ Ratner continues with his secret to handling actors, “I make sure I make them look good…Making them feel as comfortable as possible so they can do a good job.” Ratner realizes it is not about him, but about the project. “He didn’t bring attention to himself. He just let the camera sit there and capture the moment,” Ratner states about his favorite director, Hal Ashby, but the words could just as easily describe Ratner and his style.

Ratner is movie fan. The only interest he cites outside of making movies is watching movies. He counts dozens of directors as his friends and simply states, “I love filmmakers.” He wants to work with the actors he grew up watching, “The old school guys, Nicholson, De Niro, Pacino, Hoffman.” He has appreciation for Hollywood history and sees his place in it.

“I skipped school everyday to be on the set of the movie Scarface. I got to be an extra in the movie.” Ratner remembers from his childhood in Miami, “I didn’t want to be Al Pacino I wanted to be the guy telling Al Pacino what to do.” Shortly after that experience he was off to NYU, “It was like a dream come true for me. I always wanted to go to NYU because Scorsese went there. He was my favorite director when I was ten years old because of Raging Bull…I was eager to get on with my life and become a film director. I was thinking about it since I was eight years old. It wasn’t like I just fell into it. I kept dreaming about it and I didn’t stop until it happened.”

Ratner is obviously focused and determined, but he tempers it with a casual charm, never taking himself or his work too seriously. He appreciates the career has worked so hard to build, “I don’t know how to do anything else. I’d actually have to work at McDonald’s. I’m going to continue to make movies and have fun doing it.”

Ratner understands what he wants in life, he’s known since he was eight, and he has to this point succeeded in that chosen life, maybe he is charmed.

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The Sun Also Rises: Brett Ratner

Brett Ratner has led a charmed life. He entered New York University’s acclaimed Tisch School to study filmmaking at 16. Steven Spielberg funded his graduation thesis. He broke into the music video business early and eventually directed over a hundred music videos working with such top talent as Madonna and Mariah Carey. After the Sunset marks his sixth feature film. His films are an eclectic cross-section of international superstars. He is now in a position to pick his projects, choose his stars, and free to make movies true to his vision without compromise. Brett Ratner has led a charmed life.

Of course Ratner did earn the grades and graduate high school early to get in to NYU. And Spielberg did cut him a check because he diligently sent out letters soliciting producers for finishing funds. His highly acclaimed short, “Whatever Happened to Mason Reese”, opened the doors to the music video industry. His reputation for handling projects and stars earned him a shot at feature films. And he has scored studios truckloads of cash with a series of wildly successful films. So Ratner may have earned some of the charms that have come to him.

Speaking with Ratner by telephone it is immediately obvious that he is enjoying himself, but while he is enjoying the limos, red carpets, and all-star girlfriends, what he is most excited by is the work. He loves film and is using his success not to turn Hollywood nightlife upside down, but to get the projects he wants and do them the way he wants them done.

For a guy coming up through the music video scene and touted as a young gun and the next big thing Ratner is surprisingly congenial, thoughtful, and humble. Ratner gives his crew massive credit allowing them to share in his success, “Everybody on my crew are filmmakers in their own right. People that I can really learn from…That’s an important trait I find in crew people that I hire.” The evidence that this is more than lip service his longstanding relationships with solid Hollywood professionals. Many of his key crew people have worked on all of his feature films. “I’ve had alot of the same crews.  My AD (James M. Freitag) has done all six of my films; my editor (Mark Helfrich) has done all six of my films; my DP, Dante Spinotti, I’ve worked with him three times now. They’re really amazing people.”

When asked about why he chose his latest project he quickly jokes, “Salma Hayek in a bikini.” Maybe it is his laid-back style that keeps cast and crew coming back. “It’s hard making a movie. So I keep it fun so people enjoy coming to work, “ Ratner continues with his secret to handling actors, “I make sure I make them look good…Making them feel as comfortable as possible so they can do a good job.” Ratner realizes it is not about him, but about the project. “He didn’t bring attention to himself. He just let the camera sit there and capture the moment,” Ratner states about his favorite director, Hal Ashby, but the words could just as easily describe Ratner and his style.

Ratner is movie fan. The only interest he cites outside of making movies is watching movies. He counts dozens of directors as his friends and simply states, “I love filmmakers.” He wants to work with the actors he grew up watching, “The old school guys, Nicholson, De Niro, Pacino, Hoffman.” He has appreciation for Hollywood history and sees his place in it.

“I skipped school everyday to be on the set of the movie Scarface. I got to be an extra in the movie.” Ratner remembers from his childhood in Miami, “I didn’t want to be Al Pacino I wanted to be the guy telling Al Pacino what to do.” Shortly after that experience he was off to NYU, “It was like a dream come true for me. I always wanted to go to NYU because Scorsese went there. He was my favorite director when I was ten years old because of Raging Bull…I was eager to get on with my life and become a film director. I was thinking about it since I was eight years old. It wasn’t like I just fell into it. I kept dreaming about it and I didn’t stop until it happened.”

Ratner is obviously focused and determined, but he tempers it with a casual charm, never taking himself or his work too seriously. He appreciates the career has worked so hard to build, “I don’t know how to do anything else. I’d actually have to work at McDonald’s. I’m going to continue to make movies and have fun doing it.”

Ratner understands what he wants in life, he’s known since he was eight, and he has to this point succeeded in that chosen life, maybe he is charmed.

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The Sun Also Rises: Brett Ratner

Brett Ratner has led a charmed life. He entered New York University’s acclaimed Tisch School to study filmmaking at 16. Steven Spielberg funded his graduation thesis. He broke into the music video business early and eventually directed over a hundred music videos working with such top talent as Madonna and Mariah Carey. After the Sunset marks his sixth feature film. His films are an eclectic cross-section of international superstars. He is now in a position to pick his projects, choose his stars, and free to make movies true to his vision without compromise. Brett Ratner has led a charmed life.

Of course Ratner did earn the grades and graduate high school early to get in to NYU. And Spielberg did cut him a check because he diligently sent out letters soliciting producers for finishing funds. His highly acclaimed short, “Whatever Happened to Mason Reese”, opened the doors to the music video industry. His reputation for handling projects and stars earned him a shot at feature films. And he has scored studios truckloads of cash with a series of wildly successful films. So Ratner may have earned some of the charms that have come to him.

Speaking with Ratner by telephone it is immediately obvious that he is enjoying himself, but while he is enjoying the limos, red carpets, and all-star girlfriends, what he is most excited by is the work. He loves film and is using his success not to turn Hollywood nightlife upside down, but to get the projects he wants and do them the way he wants them done.

For a guy coming up through the music video scene and touted as a young gun and the next big thing Ratner is surprisingly congenial, thoughtful, and humble. Ratner gives his crew massive credit allowing them to share in his success, “Everybody on my crew are filmmakers in their own right. People that I can really learn from…That’s an important trait I find in crew people that I hire.” The evidence that this is more than lip service his longstanding relationships with solid Hollywood professionals. Many of his key crew people have worked on all of his feature films. “I’ve had alot of the same crews.  My AD (James M. Freitag) has done all six of my films; my editor (Mark Helfrich) has done all six of my films; my DP, Dante Spinotti, I’ve worked with him three times now. They’re really amazing people.”

When asked about why he chose his latest project he quickly jokes, “Salma Hayek in a bikini.” Maybe it is his laid-back style that keeps cast and crew coming back. “It’s hard making a movie. So I keep it fun so people enjoy coming to work, “ Ratner continues with his secret to handling actors, “I make sure I make them look good…Making them feel as comfortable as possible so they can do a good job.” Ratner realizes it is not about him, but about the project. “He didn’t bring attention to himself. He just let the camera sit there and capture the moment,” Ratner states about his favorite director, Hal Ashby, but the words could just as easily describe Ratner and his style.

Ratner is movie fan. The only interest he cites outside of making movies is watching movies. He counts dozens of directors as his friends and simply states, “I love filmmakers.” He wants to work with the actors he grew up watching, “The old school guys, Nicholson, De Niro, Pacino, Hoffman.” He has appreciation for Hollywood history and sees his place in it.

“I skipped school everyday to be on the set of the movie Scarface. I got to be an extra in the movie.” Ratner remembers from his childhood in Miami, “I didn’t want to be Al Pacino I wanted to be the guy telling Al Pacino what to do.” Shortly after that experience he was off to NYU, “It was like a dream come true for me. I always wanted to go to NYU because Scorsese went there. He was my favorite director when I was ten years old because of Raging Bull…I was eager to get on with my life and become a film director. I was thinking about it since I was eight years old. It wasn’t like I just fell into it. I kept dreaming about it and I didn’t stop until it happened.”

Ratner is obviously focused and determined, but he tempers it with a casual charm, never taking himself or his work too seriously. He appreciates the career has worked so hard to build, “I don’t know how to do anything else. I’d actually have to work at McDonald’s. I’m going to continue to make movies and have fun doing it.”

Ratner understands what he wants in life, he’s known since he was eight, and he has to this point succeeded in that chosen life, maybe he is charmed.

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