Mike Fleming

EXCLUSIVE: Eddie Murphy is set to join Ben Stiller and Alan Alda in Tower Heist, the Brett Ratner-directed caper film for Universal Pictures. Imagine’s Brian Grazer is producing, and Murphy will join Karen Kehela Sherwood and Kim Roth as executive producers. Jeff Nathanson, Ratner’s accomplice in the Rush Hour films, is rewriting the latest version by Ted Griffin. Murphy has been mentioned as a possible participant going back to the film’s original configuration as an African American version of Ocean’s Eleven, when it was called Trump Heist. Trump was dropped as was that casting equation, and now, the storyline deals with operations and maintenance workers in a luxury Manhattan high-rise whose pension funds were looted by a Bernie Madoff-like  Wall Street crook, who is living high style in a penthouse apartment, under house arrest. Led by an overworked building manager (Stiller), the workers use their knowledge of the inner workings of the building to rip him off. WME-repped Murphy became a star playing street-smart characters who stuck it to the man in movies from 48 Hours to Trading Places. If he’s still got some of that mojo, he classes up Tower Heist considerably.

Get Deadline news and alerts sent to your inbox.