Born and bred in Miami, director and producer Brett Ratner has both East Coast style and West Coast success as a critically acclaimed Hollywood producer/director/screenwriter/editor. His directorial credits include Rush Hour and its sequels, as well as X-Men: The Last Stand. Movie aficionados will be most familiar with Ratner’s work as an executive producer on the Golden Globe– and Oscar–winning The Revenant, and he most recently co-produced the climate change documentary Before the Flood. Here, Ratner takes a break from his busy bicoastal schedule to take us on a tour of his hometown:
What’s the first thing you do when you wake up?
Brush my teeth and then say good morning to my grandmother Fanita, who lives in my guesthouse. Drink a cup of Sanka and read the New York Post.
What is your ideal Miami day?
Wake up. Drive to Athens Juice Bar on Collins Avenue for breakfast. Visit my mom and two little brothers, who live on Sheridan Avenue. Go eat Cuban food for lunch and spend the afternoon walking down Lincoln Road, ending up at the movie theater on Alton Road. Then dinner at Joe’s Stone Crab or the Forge.
Name a movie that changed your life.
Raging Bull. I saw it in 1980 when I was 10 years old, and it made me want to be a director and go to NYU’s film school like Martin Scorsese
What are three things you cannot live
A hug from my grandmother, my mentor Al Malnik’s advice and my home in Beverly Hills, Hilhaven Lodge. The lodge, which has been home to some of Hollywood’s most iconic celebrities over the past 80 years, actually inspired my whiskey. To carry on the home’s legacy, Hilhaven Lodge is a blend of three whiskies from three distinct decades and now offers me an opportunity to share a piece of Hollywood’s heyday with people around the world.
What’s the best piece of advice you’ve ever received?
My grandfather, who told me to always believe in myself!
What is your earliest Miami memory?
Sitting around the dinner table at our little house on Sheridan Avenue in Miami Beach with my whole family, eating lamb chops, white rice and peas that were cooked by my great-grandmother Bertha!
What is your favorite East Coast cliché? Favorite West Coast cliché?
That New York has the best pizza and Los Angeles has the best burgers!
Who is the most interesting person you know?
Film director Roman Polanski, for his great body of work, intelligence, sense of humor and irony.
If you could have dinner with three people, who would you choose?
Dead: Stanley Kubrick, Bruce Lee and Simon Wiesenthal. Living: Stephen
Hawking, Vladimir Putin and Xi Jinping
Who is your favorite dining companion?
Shareef Malnik, owner of the Forge [and son of Al Malnik]. He always spoils me with his passion for the culinary arts!
Name a piece of art that speaks to you.
The art that speaks to me the most is that of motion pictures. Movies make me laugh, cry, feel emotion. They impact on and influence my own art and stay in my consciousness for many years! I do love sculpture by Rodin and Giacometti and paintings by Francis Bacon.