Ben Stiller Signs for ‘Ocean’s’-Style Heist Ensemble

Monday, August 23, 2010
By Kevin Crossman

Ben Stiller has signed to star in a new ensemble heist film for director Brett Ratner and producer Brian Grazer, according to Deadline Hollywood. The film is titled Tower Heist and is expected to film in New York starting in November.

Ben Stiller stars as the overworked manager of a luxury building who, along with other staff, lost their pensions to a Bernie Madoff-like Wall Street crook. It so happens that the fraudster is being held under house arrest in the luxury penthouse apartment upstairs, and the manager and four cohorts figure a heist will make them whole.

Ben Stiller

Ben Stiller

No need to belabor the obvious future casting implications of this news. It would be a shock if this wasn’t marketed as a comedy version of Ocean’s Eleven, especially considering Stiller’s track record at getting A-list comedians to sign up for ensemble comedies. In fact, there’s an Ocean’s connection with the script, according to Deadline.

“It has become the quintessential New York heist movie, where a bunch of blue collar employees in a tower building pull off the ultimate heist,” Ratner told me. The move away from Trump really began with Ted Griffin, who, Ratner reminds, originally wrote Ocean’s Eleven for himto direct.  “I didn’t get to do that movie, I didRush Hour instead, but I went back to Ted to do a rewrite, and he wanted to start over. His pitch was so good that I took it to Brian, who said, ‘let’s get it right.’ I brought the script to Ben on the Little Fockers set, and said this is perfect for you. He was looking at other projects like Mr. Popper’s Penguins (which went to Jim Carrey), I asked Noah Baumbach  to do some specific character work for Ben. Then my Rush Hour guy Jeff Nathanson brought it home. The major difference from the Ocean’s film is those guys were expert thieves. These are real guys whose talent is they know the inner workings of the building and the people in it. It took a long time for this to come together, but it was totally worth the wait. This has a lot of heart to go along with the humor.”

So, who do we expect to see in the film? Stiller pals Danny McBride and Steve Coogan would seem to have the wrong kind of accents for this role, but I could easily see Bill Hader and Jay Baruchel being cast. Who do you think should join the cast?

15 Responses to “Ben Stiller Signs for ‘Ocean’s’-Style Heist Ensemble”

  1. Chris

    My cast picks
    Ben Stiller
    Owen Wilson
    Bill Hader
    Rob Riggle(he deserves a starring role by now)

  2. jon

    I want Vince Vaughn for this. Paul Rudd aswell

  3. Rick

    Filming in November, eh? Do we know what Carell has chosen for his Fall hiatus from The Office?

  4. MK

    Ben Stiller
    Steve Carell
    Owen Wilson
    Vince Vaughn
    Seth Rogen

  5. Philip

    Lets pull out the heavy hitters and get Stiller back with Vince, Will, Owen and Jack and have many a cameos in the supporting roles…could u imagine a heist gang made up of those 5 guys?!?!?!?!

  6. Trevor

    Ben Stiller
    Owen Wilson
    Godfrey Danchimah
    Patton Oswalt
    David Krumholtz

  7. christian

    danny mcbride
    vince vaughn
    bill hader
    russel brand

  8. Kevin Crossman

    Yes, Patton Oswalt definitely has the blue collar vibe that I think would be appropriate for this. As for Carell… well, that’s very interesting indeed (we know Carell is wanting to spend more time on the East Coast).

  9. Bonnie

    Ben and Owen are a must. They need a movie where it’s not CG bringing them together. That hasn’t happened since 2004.

    Not sure of anyone else. Definitely filled with Frat Packets like Vince, Will, Luke, Jack and/or Steve would make this iconic. I could enjoy Steve Coogan, Danny McBride, David Krumholtz and Bill Hader if some Frat Packers minus Owen didn’t want it.

  10. Rick

    Has it already been pointed out that Ratner originally had this project developed for Eddie Murphy, Chris Rock, Martin Lawrence & Dave Chappelle? He gave up after Chappelle refused to come out of retirement for it.

    Considering this, the script must have some big supporting roles

  11. Sammy

    Make this the first film to have all of the Frat Packers together at once! (Anchorman was so close)

  12. Kevin Crossman

    >That hasn’t happened since 2004.
    Little Fockers???

  13. Kevin Crossman

    Sammy, we definitely can do that. Do you happen to have $80 million to throw into the pot for salaries?

  14. Sammy

    No Kevin. But hey, Little Fockers costed $100 mil to make. But we all could dream of the day that finally happens.

  15. Beth

    ben stiller
    paul rudd
    vince vaughn
    jon favreau
    owen wilson

    i love the combos of ben and owen, and of vince and jon… and i just love paul rudd in general :)


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