Brett Ratner is going to prison. Well, kind of.
The director/producer — best known for his heartless action and comedy work (Rush Hour, X-Men: The Last Stand) — just optioned the 2008 memoir The Reluctant Communist by Charles Robert Jenkins and Jim Frederick as a future directing vehicle. The book is the true story of Jenkins’ 1965 desertion and 40-year imprisonment in North Korea. The picture will follow Jenkins as he, while drunk, surrenders to the North Koreans and goes to jail. However, the film will take on various tones as it moves from drama to incidental comedy and back. The story sounds like a chronicle of a very bizarre and interesting life.
“He was forced to act in (propaganda) movies as an American bad guy, and he became kind of a celebrity,” said John Cheng, a Rat Entertainment executive who is producing the film. “People would come up to him on the street, because they recognized him from the films. Cheng added that Ross Katz (HBO’s Taking Chance) is writing the screnplay.
Anyway, this looks like a solid opportunity for Ratner to help everyone forget about X-Men: The Last Stand. But, this is a different type of world for the director. Usually, he’s all into explosions and less into emotions. This story — at least the outline of the memoir — seems to be filled with more character development than dynamite. If Ratner can’t handle the change of pace, the whole thing might implode.