March 26, 2009
Brett Ratner: Mini Media Mogul
My old friend Brett Ratner is in the news yet again.
Only this time, it’s not as the “billion-dollar director” or “Hollywood playboy” we’ve come to know so well; it’s for something entirely different, something very un-Ratner like.
Which is a surprising choice for the rabble-rouser, because, for one who notoriously revels in notoriety, book publishing is about as controversial as vanilla ice cream. So we’re left to wonder: Is Hollywood’s most controversial young talent becoming a culture preservationist?
If you read my October 2008 profile of him, you’ll discover that’s exactly the kind of thing Ratner would do. Because as much as he is the “Popcorn King,” revered for his kind of lowbrow, high-grossing adventure flicks, and at the same time, vilified as the industry’s most shameless under-40 lothario, Ratner is every bit the culture cognescenti who would fund a coffee table book that he would buy himself.
As I remember, his dazzling collection of art books immediately caught my attention when I visited his home last summer:
Ratner’s friend, L.A. Times columnist Patrick Goldstein (whom Ratner was mad at after Goldstein wrote about my profile) reported earlier today about the director’s latest endeavor—aptly titled, “Rat Press.” The venture is not entirely new. In 2003, Ratner published “Hillhaven Lodge: The Photo Booth Pictures,” a collection of celebrity picture-strips taken in his private booth during parties. The book reads like a who’s who of young Hollywood, from Leonardo DiCaprio to Justin Timberlake to Penelope Cruz—and for political parity, Chelsea Clinton. And last year, Ratner published a collection of actor Scott Caan’s photography.
Goldstein seems quite taken with the Brando book, but you’ll have to read his blog for that bit.
There’s no question Ratner loves movies—making them, watching them, and now, cataloging them for posterity. But Ratner also loves himself, and this move signifies his foray into mini-moguldom.
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