Brett Ratner has found a lot of success as a producer, but as a director, he remains firmly journeyman. According to Deadline, he has found his follow-up to 2014’s Hercules (if you forgot he directed that, you’re not the only one) with The Libertine. Per Deadline, “The focus is a powerful French politician who endures house arrest in a luxury NYC apartment while awaiting trial for sexual assault against a hotel maid. It is loosely based on the 2011 incident involving French politician Dominique Strauss-Kahn.”
Johnny Depp is attached to star, although the film will probably undergo a title change since Depp already starred in a movie called The Libertine in 2004 (although that film had a very different plotline).
Ratner tells Deadline, “The whole movie takes place in one location and I’ve never done that before. It’s one of the best scripts I’ve ever read. People are surprised, because I’ve always been a commercial filmmaker, and this is a much smaller movie. I waited for something to come along where I could say to [Warner Bros. CEO] Kevin Tsujihara, ‘Kevin, this is the one I want to direct.’”
This should be an interesting change of pace for Ratner, who typically directs action films and made his name with the Rush Hour pictures. However, it looks like he’s planning to diversify his personal directing slate as he tells Deadline:
“I’ve got scripts I want to do, including the Milli Vanilli story, and I’m developing the Hugh Hefner Playboy movie again. Now that I have a finance company, I can pay for development and get things going. And we can buy books and scripts. We went after that David Grann book Killers of the Flower Moon that got stupid and sold for $5 million. I think the script for The Goldfinch, and the one for The Libertine, are two of the best I’ve read in years. There’s another based on the Ben Mezrich book Once Upon A Time In Russia, about the rise of the oligarchs, where I actually had the idea, pitched it to Ben and he wrote the book. That is a bit of reverse engineering; to hire a writer to do a book, and then sell his book into a movie.”
We’ll see if Ratner ever gets around to these, but in the meantime it looks like Libertine has front position on his busy schedule.