Brett Ratner: 'The Villain Is Always the White Man in My Movies'

Hercules director talks Rush Hour, Mary J. Blige and more.

Posted: 07/25/2014 11:00 AM EDT

Summer isn't complete without a Brett Ratner film at the box office, and the A-list director doesn't disappoint with Hercules. What makes this incarnation of the classic Greek demigod so special is that, for the first time, he is being played by a man of color — Dwayne "The Rock" Johnson.

Ratner, who after years of directing music videos became an overnight sensation in Hollywood with the success of his film Rush Hour, talks to us about bringing some diversity to the classics and his deep connection with the Black community. "I feel like I'm part of it," he says. "I have great respect for the Black community."  He jokingly says, "The villian is always the white man in my movies!"  The director points out that it takes a level of awareness and sensitivity to keep from crossing the line into inappropriate or offensive, but admits that he did once get read for putting his foot in his mouth about Black hair.

"Mary J. Blige went off on me," he recalls sheepishly. "I was directing her video and I didn't like the way they had done her hair, and she was like, 'Don't tell me about my hair! I know my hair!'" Ratner says the two remain close friends, but that he wouldn't cross her again.

Watch our exclusive interview below to hear Ratner talk more about diversity in Hollywood, how he got into hip hop and when he bonded with Michael Jackson. Also, click here to see Hercules star Johnson show our J'Nara Corbin exactly how to deal with the wild animals of the concrete jungle, aka New York City. 

Hercules hits theaters today.

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