Brett Ratner is that rare Hollywood director who takes major flak from both Internet commenters and highfalutin film journalists. "I'm flattered, if anything," the 'Tower Heist' director told Dave Itzkoff in the New York Times about his detractors, "for those of you who think you're getting my goat." That devil-may-care attitude is part of the reason why Ratner has accumulated a Rolodex of famous friends ranging from Russell Simmons and Eddie Murphy to Brian Grazer and Roman Polanski. Well, that and his total honesty. Like that time in 1994 when he told Grazer and director Ron Howard what he thought of their new comedy-drama, 'The Paper.'

Starring Michael Keaton, Glenn Close, Robert Duvall and Randy Quaid (before he went bananas), 'The Paper' is an underrated gem detailing 24 hours in the life of a newspaper editor (Keaton) at a New York Post-like tabloid. Despite a cult-ish reputation and a great lead performance from Keaton, the film never did reach wide audiences upon release in March of 1994. Not that Ratner was surprised.

After seeing a screening with Grazer, Howard and Simmons, the then-24-year-old Ratner offered this bit of direct criticism: "He just said: 'Well, who's going to see it? It's kind of highbrow,'" Grazer recalled to Itzkoff. "It had never really occurred to us. He had a very simple but accurate take on it."

'The Paper' earned a little over $38 million during its theatrical run; the Ratner-directed 'Tower Heist' should earn quite a bit more than that (perhaps even on opening weekend). Check back to Moviefone for more on the film next week, and head over to the Times to read the full profile of Ratner.



[via NYT]

[Photo: Getty]



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