I wouldn’t chalk much of this down as hard news or anything, but it’s some interesting gossip from someone close to the non-development of Brett Ratner’s Beverly Hills Cop 4. It’s what you might call, “around the office chatter,” if you will. Hearsay from someone who is in a position to hear things.
Beverly Hills Cop 4 is one of those sequels that has been in development for several years, but Paramount has yet to get it off the ground, it seems, because the less box-office clout that Eddie Murphy has, the more he seems to want to spend on developing the sequel. Brett Ratner has been attached to the project forever, but he’s sort of a sideline player right in the movie’s development, in a holding pattern waiting for the major players to come up with a script, though chances are, if they did crack it, Ratner would bolt, what with being allergic to actually working.
It’s Murphy that’s driving the ship, and there appears to be some friction between what Murphy wants and what the studio is willing to give him. For instance, back in 2008, Michael Brandt and Derek Haas (Wanted) wrote a draft of the screenplay. It apparently didn’t go over so well with Eddie Murphy, who has a strong preference for more action, less comedy, in his action-comedy. And action costs more money than comedy, of course. As of late last year, Brandt and Haas were dropped from the project, although it appears that the producers’ idea of a younger, Jonah Hill type sidekick is still a definite possibility (in the same way that producers are trying to bring in someone young to bolster Mission Impossible IV in light of Tom Cruise’s diminishing clout). However, the Brandt/Haas idea that Billy Rosewood would get snuffed out didn’t fly over too well.
The rub comes with Murphy, who — after reading the Brandt/Haas script — decided to come up with his own treatment. He’s got some fairly grandiose ideas. He wants international locations. He wants it on a ship. And his ideas are expensive. The problem, of course, is that Eddie Murphy isn’t the box-office star he once was: He’s coming off a decade of mostly flops, and now he’s trying to push producer Lorenzo Di Boneventura to make a bigger, more expensive movie. And now, while the project is definitely not dead, it is on indefinite hold while the producers try and find writers who can address Murphy’s treatment, while Ratner — who claimed a couple of months ago that he’s “working very hard” on the film — continues to do what he does best, namely nothing at all. (Our hearsay source doesn’t think much of Ratner). But as long as Ratner’s got his name attached to every other film in development, people will continue to perceive that he has pull when it doesn’t’ appear that he really has all that much interest in getting in the director’s chair again anytime soon, which helps to explain why he hasn’t really made a film since 2007’s awful Rush Hour 3.
All of which is to say: Don’t expect a Beverly Hills Cop IV anytime soon. And if anyone ever does manage to satisfy Murphy — who really should apply his same standards to all of his films, not just Cop — then I doubt that Ratner will be involved.