Ratner is friends with Lerner and often reads scripts that the Nu Image/Millennium Films principal sends him, but the "Rush Hour" filmmaker is not interested in developing or directing "Hercules."
Instead, Ratner is currently working on his next directorial effort, "Tower Heist."
Lerner has been developing "Hercules" for more than three years, and while the project is still in the development stage, it has reportedly been gaining momentum in recent weeks. But it will have to proceed without Ratner, and frankly, his non-involvement comes as a relief.
Now, I'm not speaking as a "Hercules" defender who thinks Ratner would ruin the classic character. Quite the contrary, actually. I'm a Ratner fan (that's right, and a well-documented one, too!) who feels that the "Hercules" property would actually be beneath him.
Though I haven't seen "Rush Hour 3," I firmly believe that Ratner has never directed a bad movie. He takes a lot of crap from the fanboy community (which he is aware of), and while I'm not arguing that he's the second coming of Steven Spielberg, he's hardly Uwe Boll either.
I've met Ratner a couple times and he's always struck me as a hard-working guy who knows his stuff. He may come from a wealthy Miami family but he's a self-made man, and despite his playboy image, he's really just a guy who loves movies.
Honestly, I'm glad to see him passing on "Hercules" and focusing his talents on a project like "Tower Heist," which is better suited to his skill set.
Disney released an animated "Hercules" in 1997 but there hasn't been a live-action movie based on the character since Lou Ferrigno played the mythological god in 1983. Arnold Schwarzenegger previously played the title character in 1969's "Hercules in New York."