The LAT's Patrick Goldstein profiles cantankerous New Line co-chairman/co-CEO Bob Shaye, an executive utterly unafraid to call an unimpressed reviewer "schmucky," alienate a filmmaker who's made his studio a billion dollars, or to make a controversial choice to have Rainn Wilson's tantalizingly revealed hindquarters digitally obscured so as not to pander to an audience's basest, crack-craving tastes, a principled decision that could cost his upcoming film, The Last Mimzy, untold millions in ticket sales. In talking to the Times, Shaye also demonstrates a willingness to publicly call out a certain hacky director of a hit franchise who might be taking advantage of the fact that his movie is New Line's best chance at making some money this summer:
Shaye has been especially unhappy with the progress of "Rush Hour," which is over-budget and behind schedule. Shaye's biggest issue is with Ratner, who has been the key to keeping the "Rush Hour" franchise together but is famously glib, sociable and media friendly — in other words, the opposite of Shaye. During filming Ratner has spent so much time on the phone that New Line first tried to ban cellphones, then investigated jamming cell signals to the set, all to no avail.
"I take it personally with Bret," he says. "It's still going to be a great movie, but going over budget is a betrayal of the trust New Line has put into him."
Ratner responds: "Whenever a movie falls behind, Bob takes it personally. But the numbers are really so minuscule — it's like my grandfather eating at IHOP to save money."
Despite Ratner's predictable dismissiveness (he's adorably incorrigible, that one! Somebody go muss his hair, right now!) of any kind of budgetary oversight that might slow down the Rush Hour 3 party train, the old-school Shaye certainly has a point: If he's going to lay out $120 million or so for another incomprehensible mess that nonetheless goes on to make a shitload of money, Ratner can at least pay his boss the respect of spending less time engaged in the frivolous grabassery of chasing extras tail and devoting more of his legendary energy engaged in the important work of pointing at things and asking the nearest crew member, "Hey, can we blow that shit up?"