Universal Pictures and Imagine Entertainment are in negotiations with Ben Stiller to star in Brett Ratner's Trump Heist -- if the legal team can't clear it, it'll be titled Tower Heist instead.
With Trump Heist being touted as " basically a black Ocean's Eleven," Stiller's potential casting is an obvious detour from the other comedic actors previously mentioned in connection with the film like Chris Rock, Chris Tucker and Eddie Murphy.
The Ocean's reference still aptly applies however, as Ocean's 11 scribe Ted Griffin has been one of the many writers to write a pass of the script, along with Russell Gewirtz (Inside Man) and Stiller's Dodgeball scribe Rawson Marshall Thurber.
Trump Heist centers on a group of con-men working at New York's Trump Tower who devise a plan to swindle the residents of the upscale apartments. Stiller will likely bring in a writer he's worked with before to tailor a new draft of the script.
It's sort of a dizzying turn of events. I thought Angelina Jolie replacing Tom Cruise in Salt would throw people for a loop but it's not that big of a deal. The LATimes so plainly puts it, Trump Heist is "a white movie re-imagined as a black movie that may now be reconfigured with a white lead." Like art and music I'd love to think of comedy as a Universal language, but I guess it really isn't that way. Then again I can't say I'm "in on" or get the humor of movies like Barbershop or any of Tyler Perry's films... but on the same note I'd swear up and down that everyone will love This Is Spinal Tap, which sadly isn't the case.
This obviously isn't a first of these kinds of casting switch-ups, nor does it compare to actual remakes and not just different casting choices. One of many would be Kevin Sullivan's reversal of the racial stigmas in 1967's Guess Who's Coming to Dinner with his 2005 remake, Guess Who. Then there's also Murphy's The Nutty Professor, and most recently Chris Rock's remake of Death at A Funeral. A movie that is still in development will go through many changes, just cast the right person for the role. If it's funny and well done story, then any audience will get it... right? Wait, I almost forgot Brett Ratner is directing... nevermind.