On the set with director Brett Ratner in NY

Brett Ratner, an action film director dipping a toe in romantic comedy, had it all figured out: a pair of young lovers, an enchanted night near the Central Park reservoir, an unexpected moment of passion. It sounded like something out of “A Midsummer Night’s Dream.”

But there were a few problems. It was March, and temperatures had dipped to below freezing, a tad cold for the young lovers lying on the dewy grass. Parks Department rules prohibiting the use of heavy machinery on the park’s delicate grass meant that Mr. Ratner had to import great swatches of artificial turf.

Then there was the matter of the tree. Although the park is home to some 26,000 trees, a filmmaker is not allowed to touch a single leaf on any of them. And so Mr. Ratner, best known for high-firepower fare like the “Rush Hour”movies, not only had to bring his own tree from a prop shop. He also had to provide a crane to hold it in place while his leading lady, shivering in a pink cocktail dress, dangled from a branch.


Directors, Filmmaking, In-Production

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