UPDATE: Brian Grazer has accepted the job as Oscar producer, replacing Ratner, which the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences confirms. "It's very gratifying to be part of a show that honors excellence in the medium to which I have devoted so much of my career," said Grazer.
"First and foremost I want to say that I completely understand and support each party's decision with regard to a change of producers for this year's Academy Awards ceremony," Murphy said in a statement. "I was truly looking forward to being a part of the show that our production team and writers were just starting to develop, but I'm sure that the new production team and host will do an equally great job."
Ratner stepped down after a series of gaffes and blunders. First, 'Tower Heist,' his flick starring Murphy, bombed at the box office over the weekend. Then, while promoting the flick, Ratner used a gay slur, saying "rehearsals are for fags."
No cause of death has been released, but police are not treating his death as suspicious. There have been several reports that he may have been suffering from pneumonia. According to TMZ.com Heavy D collapsed with breathing difficulties following a shopping trip. His neighbor Adam Mills found him leaning against a railing, clearly in distress, saying "I can't breathe, I can't breathe."
Only a few hours before his death the Jamaica-born rapper, who grew up in New York, Tweeted a tribute to the late boxing great Joe Frazier -- "SMOKIN JOE FRAZIER..RIP.. truly one of the best heavyweight champs that ever lived.. GODS SPEED,MR FRAZIER!" -- and sent his fans a typically positive message: "BE INSPIRED!"
Ratner's bad week started off with his latest movie, 'Tower Heist,' coming in second place in the box office on its opening weekend, well behind reigning cartoon cat 'Puss in Boots.' 'Puss' snagged $33 million in its second weekend, while 'Heist' underperformed with a mediocre $25.1 million debut. The crime caper comedy reportedly cost around $75 million to make, and marked Eddie Murphy's return to the land of PG-13 movies alongside an all-star cast that includes Ben Stiller.
Ratner made matters worse by using a gay slur while talking about 'Tower Heist' at a Q&A for the movie over the weekend, saying "rehearsals are for fags." The Internet immediately pounced on the comment, landing the already controversial director in even more hot water.
They met when Ratner was making the first 'Rush Hour' movie and he says all the King of Pop wanted to do was play practical jokes on people. One night the pair went for a drive around Santa Barbara in Jackson's enormous stretch limo and they got their kicks by throwing water balloons out the window.
Unfortunately for a homeless guy who just happened to be walking by, Jackson had a good arm and hit him with a water balloon before driving off. Fortunately for Jackson, he was wearing a Hulk mask so his victim never knew who'd soaked him. Until maybe now, that is ...
According to Deadline, producer Brett Ratner has just one name on his wish list this year -- Murphy's -- and is expected to present his top host choices to the Academy of Motion Picture Arts & Sciences in a meeting on Tuesday.
Hathaway and Franco were universally panned for their performances as Oscar co-hosts last year -- her for being too peppy, him for being too blase -- so choosing a well-known, experienced comedian for the job could please the critics.
The breakdown in negotiations has been described as "a classic example of political gamesmanship between two companies that don't trust each other."
'Chaos' was due to star Freddy Rodríguez ('Six Feet Under') as a naive C.I.A. agent who wants to make the world a better place. It was written by Tom Spezialy ('Reaper,' Desperate Housewives') and the well-received pilot was directed by Brett 'X Men' Ratner, who was also in line to executive-produce the series with Spezialy.
Based on a book by New York City policeman Edward Conlon, the series follows his first year on the force. Ratner is signed on to direct and produce, with Neil Tolkin set to write the pilot. It's being described as a 'true crime drama pilot.' I'm not really sure what that means. 'Yet another cop show' didn't have the same punch?
I'm fully aware that it's unfair to judge the show based only on this limited information, but I can't help it. At the end of the day, even if it is 'true crime drama', even if it is directed by the man that brought us Rush Hour, and even if it is written by the guy that gave us the two Corey's in License To Drive, it sounds to me like another cop show. And it's hard to get too excited about that.
(S01E15) It's a sad thing when the reveal of who's leaving a reality show is more interesting than the actual show.
Case in point, Zach went home this week and we were forced to hear his stifled crying while Adam, Jason, Will, and Sam were named the final four. I liked Zach, but his odes to such-and-such director were getting old and lacked any originality.
(S01E12) The only romantic comedies my palette can tolerate are of the British variety. This may or may not make me a complete tool. I haven't quite decided.
These comedies usually star Hugh Grant playing Hugh Grant and are full of witty banter, unlikely but enjoyable scenarios, and slightly tolerable romance.
Going with that criteria, none of tonight's films came close for me and that's pretty sad considering I've set a pretty low bar for the genre. For the most part, the judges disagreed with me.
(S01E11) I'm really surprised On The Lot has made it this long without getting yanked.
My suspicion is Fox doesn't quite have the guts to cancel a show produced by the venerable Steven Spielberg, but they're covertly doing everything in their power to get this stinker off the air. Hence, the double eliminations for the last two weeks.
By my calculations, if we continue cutting two people a week, we'll only be subjected to four or five more episodes tops.
I think this may be the first time I've ever consistently watched a show on a weekly basis while simultaneously wanting it to die.
The only way they could possibly be as enthusiastic as they let on is if they think they're getting a free iPhone, a fresh batch of crepes Fedexed in from Paris, or an early copy of Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows.
Seriously, the crowd is in such a frenzy each week, it's nearly impossible to hear Adriana Costa during her introduction. She practically has to shout and the funny part is, she's using a microphone.
There is no way a sane human being could like this show that much. It's against nature.
(S01E09) Last week a reader by the name of Videophile posted a link in the comments to this YouTube video noting the similarities between it and Zach's film Die Hardly Working.
After watching the film, I tend to agree and encourage you to have a look for yourself.
I'm not accusing Zach of stealing from the SecretFunTime crew, but the video was posted on their site on May 1st and apparently, Zach only shot this film last week. Also, On The Lot didn't start airing until May 23rd which presumably means Zach could have seen the video before leaving to participate on the show. Just something to think about.
I apologize for the rampant conspiracy theorizing. I have to keep myself interested in this show somehow.
(S01E08) I hate to sound like a broken record, but once again, On The Lot underwent a few more tweaks this week.
To begin with, thanks to a somewhat revealing outfit, the studio audience was mere millimeters away from finding out what exactly resided on Adriana Costa's lot. I'm pretty sure Garry Marshall would have had a heart attack had this actually occurred.
I say this because it feels like the producers take the online criticism into account and have been making little adjustments here and there to try and make the show a little bit better.
(S01E06) To the producer's credit, we finally have a format for this show, and it appears we're sticking with it. We also seem to have hit upon a trend with easy on the eyes but hard on the ears host Adriana Costa.
I could be wrong, but it appears her outfit gets a little skimpier every week.
If I'm right, somewhere around week 10 Fox's ratings are going to kill in this time slot since it's likely Adriana will have her outfit whittled down to a couple of squares of toilet paper held together by some fishing line.
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