Recall our post this past Sunday 9/11 about the commemorative screening of Spike Lee's 25th Hour, followed by a Q&A with the filmmakers and actors. Well, as reported by The Playlist today, Spike Lee, producer Jon Kilik and actors Edward Norton and Philip Seymour Hoffman attended the festivities, where Spike Lee uncovered a few interesting details from 10 years ago.
Arnold Schwarzenegger was in talks to play German boxer Max Schmeling in Spike Lee’s undeveloped Joe Louis biopic. “We were trying to get a film made, it was called ‘Save Us Joe Louis’ which I wrote with the great Budd Schulberg. And we were trying to cast Max Schmeling, and we had a meeting with Arnold Schwarzenegger the day before.” Said Lee.
The “Fuck You” monologue was in the David Benioff novel the film was based on, but not on the script. “One of the most talked about scenes in the film was the ‘fuck you’ montage,” said Spike Lee, “And that was not in the script! I said, ‘David, what are you doing, this has to be in the movie!’ He said, ‘Touchstone doesn’t want it.’ I said, fuck that, we’re putting it in!”
Lee reminded the audience that although that monologue was charged with anger and hate, Monty's character recognizes he's only mad at himself. The monologue also served as a love/hate letter to New York City.
25th Hour was buried after its release during awards season. “Here’s the story. The decision was made that the film was going to be released in awards season in limited release. And if lightning struck, and we got some award nominations, they would spend more money, give it a wider release. We did not get any nominations. The Germans have a word for it: kaput. That was it. Tough business.” Lee said.
SPOILER AHEAD: Monty goes to prison at the end of the film. “People ask me, does he go to prison or not?” Lee said referencing the George Washington Bridge shot at the end of the film. “To me, we set it up. If he would’ve went over the George Washington Bridge, they were gonna high-tail it.”
Along with the Joe Louis film, Spike Lee also has a James Brown film (Wesley Snipes in Lee's wish list among others) and a Jackie Robinson biopic long in development.
Watch the 25th Hour 'Fuck You' monologue below. :)