Our Haute 100 list details the accomplishments of the most influential people in each of our markets—Miami, New York, Los Angeles, and San Francisco. These people continue to make moves, so rather than waiting for the next Haute 100 issue to come out, we thought we’d provide you with regular updates on those Haute 100 members who are making headlines. On our Haute 100 Los Angeles list is Brett Ratner, the director best known for bringing to the big screen some of the most comedic action series and making the music industry a little bit hauter.
Company: HSI Productions
What Made Him Haute: Ratner’s is the ultimate story of local boy gone big-time. As a blockbusting director (and former Haute Living cover subject and also cover photographer), Ratner has racked up a list of films that have grossed more than a billion dollars worldwide, but he never forgets his Miami Beach roots. He made his first entrée into the world of film at age 13 by stalking around the set of Scarface, scoring a cameo as a background extra in the 1983 Brian De Palma film. He has referred to himself as the “Ferris Bueller of Miami Beach,” and his connections led him to be accepted into NYU’s prestigious film school when he was only 16. His paternal grandfather, Lee Ratner, a mega-developer responsible for the naming of Lee County in Southwest Florida, was a close friend of Haute 100 member Al Malnik, who became like a father to Brett. Because of this relationship, Brett can claim some responsibility in the transformation of Miami Beach from a geriatric haven into an international haute spot. When photographer Bruce Weber came to town in 1985 to shoot a Calvin Klein campaign, the Beach was suddenly crawling with models with nothing to do. It was Ratner and Al Malnik’s son Shareef to the rescue, and Malnik’s restaurant The Forge became the go-to haute spot. Ratner got on the payroll, earning $500 per week for his efforts turning the restaurant into a must-see on Miami Beach. Today, the Hollywood great continues to turn out blockbusters while also operating Rat Press, a publishing company that is described as “everything that film is not.”
What Makes Him Haute Now: Ratner is no doubt a busy man and continues to take the film and music industry by storm. Along with directing numerous music videos for Mariah Carey, Jessica Simpson, and P. Diddy, Rat Entertainment recently acquired The Unknowns, which happens to be based on a comic book series, another love of Ratner’s. The film centers on a heroine whose memory of being the leader of a strange group is erased, and it will certainly be marked with Ratner’s signature action scenes.
Staying true to his production style, Ratner and Tom Spezialy of Desperate Housewives will produce Chaos on CBS, a drama about CIA operatives constantly getting tripped up and mixed up in affairs. For those history buffs, the director is currently in talks with Avi Lerner of Millennium Films to take upon the task of directing the tale of the mythological god Hercules and also picked up the film Catfish for distribution. The film premiered as the hautest ticket at Sundance, received rave reviews, and will be released through Universal’s Rogue Pictures.
While primarily known for his action comedies, such as the Rush Hour series, Ratner’s publishing company, Rat Press, released its first three books in 2009 focusing on Marlon Brando, Robert Evans, and Jim Brown.