EXCLUSIVE: WME has just signed Brett Ratner, the director and producer. This comes at a time when Ratner is getting ready to direct Hercules, which stars Dwayne Johnson, and he’s also been very active in producing such projects including the Ben Mezrich book Seven Wonders, which Fox bought for him to produce with Beau Flynn. Ratner had been at CAA. The signing comes on the heels of Ratner donating $1 million to the museum of the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences.
NBC’s Smash and CBS’ The Amazing Race were honored tonight at the 24th GLAAD Media Awards in New York City. Smash was named best drama series and Amazing Race took the nod for best reality series. How To Survive A Plague, a film chronicling the rise of activism in the early years of AIDS, was named best documentary.
Dressed as a Boy Scout, Madonna presented the previously announced Vito Russo Award to CNN’s Anderson Cooper. Russo, who died in 1990, was a film historian who voiced concerns about how gays and lesbians are portrayed in the media. Movie director Brett Ratner received GLAAD’s inaugural Ally Award. The award for Ratner represented a turnaround from a little over a year ago when he dropped out as producer of last year’s Academy Awards after joking at an early press conference that “rehearsing is for fags”. Ratner since worked with the group to produce a public service campaign, GLAAD Coming Out For Equality.
A list of last night’s awards follows.
EXCLUSIVE: Movies periodically get fixated on auto racing, like the great documentary Senna and the upcoming Ron Howard-directed Rush. Now we’ll find out how a barely seen documentary shot by Roman Polanski can do, one shot back when he and his cameras were granted the kind of access to the track in Monaco that you just couldn’t buy today. And the way Polanski shot it, you can tell in just a few seconds that if the average person tried driving that course, you’d need to call your insurance agent by the first hairpin turn.
Rat Documentary Films, Brett Ratner‘s documentary film arm, has acquired the North American rights to Weekend Of A Champion, Polanski’s 1971 portrait of the legendary Formula 1 race car driving Champion Jackie Stewart on the weekend of his victory at the Monte Carlo Grand Prix. This is a film that was shot while Polanski was at his peak, and it has never been released in the United States. This becomes the first in a 12-picture deal that Rat Documentary Films has with Netflix; his objective is to produce or acquire cool feature documentaries. Here, Ratner and Polanski began talking about this deal and Polanski recalled with fondness the experience of shooting with Stewart. I’ve seen footage and it is pretty compelling stuff.
EXCLUSIVE: Feature director Brett Ratner and Law & Order veteran Barry Schindel have teamed for Tomorrow, a drama project at ABC financed by Reliance’s Georgeville Television, the independent TV studio formed last spring by Motion Picture Capital’s Leon Clarance and Deepak Nayar and producer Marc Rosen.
Like all Georgeville projects, Tomorrow, now in development, has a script-to-series commitment, meaning that if ABC likes the script it would trigger a 13-episode series order. Created and written by Katherine Lindberg and Ted Cyr, Tomorrow is a high-concept law enforcement procedural about an FBI agent who gets trapped in a time travel scenario. Ratner, who is set to direct, and Schindel, who serves as showrunner, executive produce with Lindberg, Cyr and Anonymous Content’s Michael Sugar and Nicole Romano.
Birthday wishes are in store for the famous Beverly Hills Hotel celebrating its centennial this year and kicking it off with a two-day affair, just ended at the famous Los Angeles landmark. With all proceeds benefitting the Motion Picture & Television Fund (which also holds a major fundraiser ahead of the Oscars called The Night Before) high-rollers were treated on Friday to comedy and jazz by the pool hosted by Bill Cosby and Saturday night to cocktails, dinner and a mini-concert by Mary J. Blige who said it was her favorite hotel, where she married the love of her life. She definitely had the Crystal room rocking.
Earlier in the evening MPTF founding Chairman Jeffrey Katzenberg welcomed guests including one of the evening’s hosts Brett Ratner, and the main attraction for many in the room, Warren Beatty who serves on the MPTF board. “Somehow or another this place is the center of the universe. There’s no one in this room who knows this hotel better than Warren Beatty. I mean no one,” he said to laughs as Beatty took the stage to lead a toast.
Despite a week of turbulence that saw his Oscarcast producer Brett Ratner resign over an inexplicable barrage of inappropriate public statements, followed shortly after by Ratner’s host Eddie Murphy, Academy president Tom Sherak wants the industry to know that the Oscars are going to be just fine.
“If this happened in January, I would be hiding under my desk,” Sherak told me. “Look what has happened. We have a new producer in Brian Grazer, who met last night with Don Mischer for an hour and a half, so that they can get going on finding a host. We are actually two and a half weeks ahead of where we were last year, in terms of naming a host.”
Sherak, who I’ve always known to be a glass-half-full kind of guy, said he saw some bright spots despite the turbulence. Said Sherak: “In all my time here, I’ve never gotten as many emails from the constituency, after Brett resigned, all saying, how can I help? What do you need me to do? If you need a producer, let me suggest this person. Or, I can go after that person for host. It’s like we woke up a sleeping giant.”
One of those who came forward was Grazer, Sherak said. “He said, ‘I want to help.’ So I said, ‘What if I asked you to become the producer.’ He said, ‘Ask me.’ I did, and he said, ‘I’m in.’ ”
WEDNESDAY 3:50 PM, 3RD UPDATE: The Academy Of Motion Pictures & Arts Sciences just made it official.
3:30 PM, 2ND UPDATE: Imagine Entertainment is confirming that Brian Grazer will produce the 84th Academy Awards with Don Mischer. Still no official AMPAS announcement, though. And there’s more news on this fast-breaking story: As much as the Academy Of Motion Picture Arts & Sciences hoped that Eddie Murphy would reconsider his exit as host, insiders tell me that Brian Grazer has moved on this afternoon. ”We are not going back to him. No way,” I’m told.
2 PM, UPDATE from Nikki Finke: I have just learned that Brian Grazer was offered and has accepted to produce the 84th Academy Awards. Nothing has been announced yet, but Grazer is telling Hollywood that he’s committed to the gig. The Academy Of Motion Picture Arts And Sciences owes Brian big-time for stepping into the breach left when Brett Ratner exited because of the scandal which the director had created around himself. Immediately, Grazer began calling around town looking for the Oscar host (see HAMMOND: Eddie’s Exit Throws Oscars Into Further Chaos; So Who Should Host Now?) and speed-dialed the top agencies checking availabilities for big talent. But the Academy still wants Eddie Murphy to host, and Grazer is tasked with first trying to convince the actor to do it. Grazer’s Imagine Entertainment produced Tower Heist, which Ratner directed and co-stars Murphy. If anyone can get Eddie back in, it’s Brian. For Grazer to take on the Oscars demonstrates a dedication to the movie community that I hope the Academy won’t soon forget. Grazer’s name frequently comes up for the Irving G Thalberg Memorial Award, the most coveted Oscar honor for anyone in Hollywood, and almost received it for the 76th annual Oscars. So maybe sooner rather than later it should be Grazer’s turn for the Thalberg. I say give it to him next year.
11 AM, Mike Fleming reports: Right now, the Academy Awards are still in disarray, but a name that is making the rounds is Brian Grazer as a potential replacement for Brett Ratner. This is unconfirmed and might have made more sense when Eddie Murphy was still the host.