Brett Ratner: a Miami state of mind

Hollywood music video and film director Brett Ratner is keen on his Miami Beach roots.

He may have hit the big time with such blockbuster hits as The Family Man, X-Men: The Last Stand, Red Dragon and the Rush Hour series, but he proudly recalls his days as a kid crashing the sets of Scarface and Miami Vice.

“In the ’70s and ’80s, Miami Beach was a small place; everyone knew each other,” he says. “I spent most of my time running around on Collins Avenue or at my grandparents’ house on Allison Island.”

His love of movies came early.

“My grandfather and I would watch action movies like Beverly Hills Cop at the Byron Carlyle.”

Then Al Pacino came to town.

“I would stalk the set of Scarface,” he says. “And when I saw [director] Brian De Palma telling Al Pacino what to do, I knew I didn’t want to become an actor. I wanted to direct.”

Recently, Ratner’s “big brother” Shareef Malnik and Miami World Cinema Center celebrated the director’s career at the Miami Beach Cinematheque. The event featured some of Ratner’s earlier work, much of which was shot on the streets of South Beach with a VHS camcorder. The celebration also includes a private dinner at the Forge, one of Ratner’s old haunts.

“I was there every day of my life. [Shareef’s father] Alvin Malnik raised me like I was his son.”

Ratner’s mini-vacation and “emotional” trip down memory lane couldn’t come at a better time. He’s been pulling in 12-hour days editing the Tower Heist. The movie, which comes out in November 2011, features an all-star cast: Eddie Murphy, Matthew Broderick, Ben Stiller, Casey Affleck, Téa Leoni and Alan Alda.

“It was a dream come true to work with those guys. I felt like a kid all over again.” “