Mike Fleming

EXCLUSIVE: Brett Ratner has set Oscar-nominated Precious star Gabourey Sidibe and Michael Pena to join Ben Stiller, Eddie Murphy and Alan Alda in Tower Heist, the action-comedy that Universal Pictures is gearing up to start production in New York next month. Imagine Entertainment’s Brian Grazer is producing. Sidibe and Pena will play employees who work in a luxury high-rise and discover their pension funds have been drained by a Bernie Madoff-like Wall Street crook who is living under house arrest in the opulent penthouse apartment. Led by the building’s manager (Stiller), the employees figure out a way to use their knowledge of the building to rip him off.

Since making her debut as the title character in the Lee Daniels-directed Precious, Sidibe has been playing a role in the Laura Linney Showtime series The Big C. Pena is currently playing a recurring role in HBO’s Eastbound and Down, and will next be seen in Battle: Los Angeles and the Will Ferrell-starrer Everything Must Go, which made its debut at the Toronto International Film Festival. Sidibe’s repped by UTA and Principal, Pena by CAA and Management 360.