Brett Ratner may soon be putting his immense knowledge of the music video industry to good use. Variety reports that Ratner and Sony are nearing a deal to turn the non-fiction book I Want My MTV: The Uncensored Story of the Music Video Revolution by Craig Marks and Rob Tannenbaum into a feature film. The book is an oral history of the rise of MTV in the late 80s and early 90s told from those involved in bringing the channel to prominence. Ratner is producing the project with an eye towards directing, with Jody Lambert (People Like Us) attached to write the script. Though I’m not the biggest fan of Ratner’s films, I have to admit that this is a pretty great marriage of director and material. Ratner started out as a music video director in the early 90s, helming numerous videos for Mariah Carey (including “Heartbreaker”), LL Cool J, and Wu-Tang Clan.
The Tower Heist director continues to helm videos to this day, so he hasn’t exactly lost touch with his roots. There’s certainly some interesting material to be mined from MTV’s rise; for those too young to remember, the channel basically ruled pop culture throughout the 90s and early 2000s. There’s no guarantee that Ratner will sign on to direct, but I genuinely hope he does. Ratner is next set to tackle Hercules with Dwayne Johnson in the starring role. Hit the jump for a synopsis of I Want My MTV.
Remember the first time you saw Michael Jackson dance with zombies in “Thriller”? Diamond Dave karate kick with Van Halen in “Jump”? Tawny Kitaen turning cartwheels on a Jaguar to Whitesnake’s “Here I Go Again”? The Beastie Boys spray beer in “(You Gotta) Fight for Your Right (To Party)”? Axl Rose step off the bus in “Welcome to the Jungle”?
Remember When All You Wanted Was Your MTV?
It was a pretty radical idea-a channel for teenagers, showing nothing but music videos. It was such a radical idea that almost no one thought it would actually succeed, much less become a force in the worlds of music, television, film, fashion, sports, and even politics. But it did work. MTV became more than anyone had ever imagined.
I Want My MTV tells the story of the first decade of MTV, the golden era when MTV’s programming was all videos, all the time, and kids watched religiously to see their favorite bands, learn about new music, and have something to talk about at parties. From its start in 1981 with a small cache of videos by mostly unknown British new wave acts to the launch of the reality-television craze with The Real World in 1992, MTV grew into a tastemaker, a career maker, and a mammoth business.
Featuring interviews with nearly four hundred artists, directors, VJs, and television and music executives, I Want My MTV is a testament to the channel that changed popular culture forever. [Amazon]