Share & Connect
For his upcoming movie Tower Heist, Eddie Murphy believed that it was time to return to familiar comic ground. “The theme of the film, with the workers being taken advantage of by the rich folks and then turning the tables, is timeless. One of my earliest movies, Trading Places, was like that. Those themes work forever. It was fun for me to work on because I hadn’t done a role like that in a while.
I’ve done a lot of family movies, and I’ve done a lot of projects in which the characters were not ‘street-y’ guys. There was a freshness to this.” Ben Stiller, the star of such box-office hits as Zoolander and Tropic Thunder (both of which he directed) and the three films of the Meet the Parents franchise, came aboard as Josh Kovaks, the workaholic manager of the tony building who has given up on his personal life to satiate the endless wants of his pampered residents.
Whether immersing himself in the minutiae of fine wines and the newest restaurants or keeping track of the birthday and anniversary of every affluent occupant, Josh may always be counted upon. With a decade of experience working in the building, he runs a tight ship and expects nothing but perfection from his staff.
The actor admits that he was intrigued by director Brett Ratner’s passionate take on the material, and the chance to join both the director and Murphy proved to be an attractive proposition. Stiller remarks: “I’ve known Brett for almost 15 years, and this is the first time that we’ve worked together.
He has incredible enthusiasm and an amazing sense of film history. He loves the filmmaking process, and he loves filmmakers. Brett works viscerally. He does his prep, but when he gets on the set is when it all comes alive for him.” Ratner returns the compliment to Stiller: “I’ve been a friend and fan of Ben’s for more than 15 years.
He is one of my favorite directors and actors. There is no actor with as much passion, commitment and hard work toward a performance than Ben. From our first meeting about Tower Heist, we were on the same page and completely agreed on the tone of the film that we all wanted to make.”
Problem solver that he is, Josh looks to con man Slide when it comes to criminal advice. The relationship between the two dates back to their time in preschool in Astoria, Queens, but the interaction that they currently have is the daily harassment that Slide gives Josh on Josh’s way to work.
Although both still live in the borough, the men are polar opposites who have taken separate paths. Josh works in the rarified world of vast wealth in Manhattan while Slide is pulling low-level crime gigs. But a criminal mind is a criminal mind, and Josh has limited options and time to get the pension funds back. Josh knows he’s taking a chance to ask Slide to join in their con, but he takes the risk.
When it came to working with Murphy, Stiller led the cast in enthusiasm. As Murphy has been a fixture of the comedy landscape for decades, Stiller was excited to see him slip into a role that harkened back to memorable characters he portrayed in Beverly Hills Cop and 48 Hrs.
“Eddie Murphy is iconic, especially for my generation,” says Stiller. “He defines a lot of what comedy is over the last 25 years, so it was very cool to work with him. I sometimes felt like an audience member as I watched him do his thing. I would think ‘Wow, that’s good. That’s going to be in the movie.’”
Shooting script locked and filmmaking team in place, Grazer reflected upon the project that began with the grain of an idea several years prior. He notes: “It’s difficult to imagine that a casual conversation six years ago has grown into such a fully realized film that is so grand in scope.
Plus, who could have known that, in this period of time, the global financial markets would teeter on the verge of collapse and the villain in our story would pale in comparison to some very real ones on Wall Street? Truth remains stranger than fiction.”
Image Courtesy of http://www.facebook.com/towerheist