As any comic book fan can tell you, behind every superhero is an origin story that explains the genesis of the character's special abilities. This week's Entertainment Weekly dips into X-Men: The Last Stand director Brett "Wolverstein" Ratner's past, revealing how his carefree upbringing and swinging film school days combined to make him the uncanny, hard-partying, hacky mutant that we've come to know and love:
''I was the most hated kid in my high school,'' says Ratner, who was raised in Miami Beach by his single mother. ''Because I was having fun. Every one of my friends hated high school, stressed about grades, college. My mom didn't tell me what time to go to bed. She said, 'You don't even have to go to school. Go travel around Europe.'''
Despite dismal grades, Ratner somehow managed to smooth-talk his way into NYU's film school, where he contacted 40 of Hollywood's biggest players to ask for funding for his student film. (The short, Whatever Happened to Mason Reese?, about an uppity former child star, was already finished. Ratner just wanted to make connections.) Eventually, he received a check from Steven Spielberg's Amblin Entertainment, which he used to impress women for months before finally cashing it.
While at NYU, the 17-year-old Ratner met future Def Jam Records impresario Russell Simmons, who was building his label. Six years later, Simmons gave Ratner his first big job, shooting a Public Enemy video, and the two have been close friends now for roughly 20 years. ''He was a talented, hardworking kid that deserved a shot,'' says Simmons. ''And he knew where every model's apartment was. I was an older guy, but not too old to want to know where a model's apartment was.''
We haven't picked up a comic book in a long time, but given the above origin myth, we think that the only way that Ratner can be neutralized is if one of his super-nemeses (according to the article, Wes and P.T. Anderson, whom Ratner envied before accepting his fate as a "populist" director) eliminates the twin sources of his powers by seeking out and destroying both Spielberg and Simmons. It might seem like a lot to ask of the quirky filmmakers, but with the very future of Hollywood at stake, we think they'll ultimately do what's necessary to halt the release of Rush Hour 3.