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Spike Lee: "Inside Man" Sequel isn't Happening + More...

by Tambay A. Obenson
July 1, 2011 3:33 AM
35 Comments
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I haven’t made a feature film in three years... Inside Man was my most successful film... But we can’t get the sequel made. And one thing Hollywood does well is sequels. The film’s not getting made. We tried many times. It’s not going to happen... But money is a big part of film, unlike a lot of other art forms.

Spike Lee speaking to Charlie Rose at PromaxBDA a day or two ago.

Not much of a surprise here. I remembered that, earlier this year, while speaking at the Dallas Film Society, he admitted having several film projects in various stages of “in the works,” including a sequel to Inside Man, a Jim Brown biopic, and his Joe Louis project. And he added that funding issues were at the root of each of these hold-ups.

Although, I'm just as surprised as he seems to be that the Inside Man sequel hasn't received a green light, given how successful it was (both critically and commercially), and the fact that Hollywood always has an itchy trigger finger when it comes to sequels to successful movies. It didn't break the coveted $100 million gross domestically, though it came close, and it grossed roughly $185 million worldwide - Spike's best performing film ever!

It's been 5 years, and I'd say, as he already did, if it hasn't happened by now, it likely won't ever.

Although, frankly, as much as I liked the first one, I wasn't particularly looking forward to a sequel. I just want to see Spike behind helming another original joint; and if it has to be a sequel to Inside Man, then so be it!

Of 9 or so projects he’s attached to, none of them is certain to go into production any time soon. His last film was the Katrina follow-up documentary, If God Is Willing and da Creek Don’t Rise, released last year; but his last fictional narrative work was Miracle At St Anna in 2008.

Of most interest to me is the adaptation of African American physicist Ronald Mallett’s book, Time Traveler, which I reviewed on the old site, and will probably repost here eventually. I heard some things about it recently, but, unfortunately, can't share the details, for fear of losing my life :)

I'll just say that it's not a dead project, as I previously thought it was.

Stay tuned…

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35 Comments

  • Dankwa Brooks | July 5, 2011 10:16 AMReply

    I just finished reading the book ‘Scorsese by Ebert’ where Roger Ebert reprinted all of the reviews and subsequent articles he did with Scorsese about his films all the way up to 2008. Very good read and it details in the interviews that Scorsese has never been the “Hollywood darling” while making some of the best films in Hollywood. He had trouble getting funding, he had trouble with studios, he had flops, and the Oscar long eluded him. (Yes he did finally get it for I think one of his okay efforts ‘The Departed’.) Like Spike Lee, Scorsese is an auteur and not just a hack like Michael Bay. I don’t give a damn if he is an asshole or not if he made films and not just movies. (Don’t get it twisted I like movies and I’m going to see ‘Transformers 3’ TODAY!) Bay is a quite capable director, but I wouldn’t call what he makes “art”…just like my boy Tyler Perry (joking about the “my boy” part even though I enjoy most of his movies)

    To me Spike has the technical skill and artistic eye, if not savoir-faire to make more great films. Much like Clint Eastwood has proven, a skilled director can direct films well into geriatrics. Even if he isn’t well liked, I think Spike’s skill is respected among his peers. One of those “Facebook Questions” polls were circulating on the site and it said something about which black director has made more relevant films about black culture and Spike Lee won hands down. Even another black filmmaker I know who HATES Spike Lee voted for him. If he never makes another relevant film I think his legacy is set.

  • Cynthia | July 5, 2011 4:19 AMReply

    @Dankwa...Co-sign that! I personally think that's why some people are annoyed with him now because they know what he's capable of and their anxious for him to get back.

  • sosgemini | July 4, 2011 8:58 AMReply

    Can I call BS on his excuse? Is his problem that he can't tell stories or that studios won't fund the specific stories he wants to tell at the budgets he wants? Woody Allen had to move to Europe to find funding for his films. David Lynch still has problems finding funding. Like Allen and Lynch, Lee is an auteur and he needs to stop being lazy and realize he can still do what he does best--- tell powerful stories. Heck, it's a sad day when Kevin Smith is playing the game smarter than Spike Lee. :headshake:

  • Adam Scott Thompson | July 3, 2011 6:51 AMReply

    They stiff Spike, a true auteur, on funding but they give it freely to Citizen Coon. smh

  • Cole | July 2, 2011 8:53 AMReply

    Let me start off by saying I have a great deal of respect for Spike. His early works like School Daze, Do the Right Thing and She's Got To Have It were entertaining , thought provoking and even powerful. He's paved the way for numerous filmmakers who happen to be black. For those reasons he is deserving of our enduring respect.

    That being said, I can't say for certain what has currently placed him in "movie jail" but St. Anna made my eyes and ears bleed plus crushed and killed most of my soul. I'm still trying to recover. How do you get up and verbally slap Clint Eastwood across his face for his war movies and then have the nerve to set behind a camera and create that steaming pile! I just can't with that movie. I just can't.

    I realize it is asking too much for any director to make a single film that pays tribute to or compellingly tells the tales of black soldiers in a way the rivals all the war movies before it. I don't think it's too much to make a good film that pays tribute to or compellingly tells the tales of black soldiers. I just needed to get that off my chest. Maybe Spike doesn't do rousing sincerity well.

    In any case, Box Office flops + Cantankerous Persona + Dark Skin is not a formula for Hollywood success. If you changed even one of those, you might have a chance. Having such an outstanding failure trifecta is not helpful. I'm not saying that's what happened to Spike. It does seem people are suggesting that.

    I hope he can gracefully turn his current situation around with his dignity intact.

  • Donnie Leapheart | July 2, 2011 7:25 AMReply

    The comments section for this article reads like novels, lol...I eventually just started quickly skimming over what ppl had to say...But that just goes to show the impact that Spike Lee still continues to have on us...Even in "Movie Jail".

    I had hopes after "Inside Man" but I knew after the second time I fell asleep in the theater for an advance screening of "Miracle at St Anna" that it was downhill again for Spike.

    And it was disappointing because he's the granddaddy of modern black cinema, he's our Scorcese and Demme...just without the successes and continued opportunities.

    But you better believe I'll continue to support Spike in the theater (whenever he gets another shot) just like I have for the last 6 narrative films he's released.

    Like him or not, Spike pushes the creative envelope and is not afraid to experiment. We need black filmmakers like him.

  • Jug | July 2, 2011 5:47 AMReply

    @Lynn-It kills me when people say "he's misunderstood". You're a grown ass man, make me understand. He isn't an abstract art masterpiece. Like Malcolm said, "Make it plain" LOL

    And yes, every other African-American in Hollywood knows what Spike is going thru, to various degrees. Like someone said, this isn't the 80s-90s anymore. There are black actors (of which I am one), writers directors EVERYWHERE hustling, trying to get it done.

    That is a weak excuse. Shit is hard, everywhere for everyone but you find a way to get it done. Period.

  • Jug | July 2, 2011 5:43 AMReply

    @sandra-I can get with that. Journalists do have their games they play. But as cynical as I can be, I can't believe that Spike is the ONLY loud Black voice about race within Hollywood. As I said, the Hughes Bros are being asked to do tentpoles and folks are asking to work with them. Antoine Fuqua is now the director of choice for Ethan Hawke. Now, they're all different people with different styles, but as far as business and how it's conducted, it does make me look at Spike and wonder "Yo, how much of this 'not getting funding' & 'no tentpole films' is on him? And this IS NOT about him on a personal level, like just sitting talking to him & saying "he's despicable". It's about him dogging the industry in the press. If you do that in public, what's happenin' on the sneak? Trust me, EVERYBODY dogs Brad Grey to their agent, but you won't catch Shia LeBouf, for all of his bullshit statements, saying Grey is an anti-semite and then expect to be in Indy 5.

    Ain't. gonna. Happen.

    So some things just don't need to be said and more than that, said in such a way as to cut your nose off to spite your face. But you're right, that's who he is & god bless him. Just don't expect to see too many movies from him.

    Jokey Jokes, he should get with Will Smith & put some shit down! LMBAO

  • Jug | July 2, 2011 5:31 AMReply

    @Lynn-I see how you could see that. The thing is, if I had not said "I am an actor" would you still have said I was bitter? Probably not. If I said I was a plumber, or better yet, a professor from NYU, my comments might have been given more weight. Not once did I say "I hate Spike" "Spike should stop working" "He's a bitch", "I'll kick has ass". In fact, just the opposite, I love Spike. I don't think his stuff for 10 years has been any good, what he's capable of. And I don't think that's all about his skin color. That stuff that Clifton Powell said, while some of it is true in the grand scheme of business being done in Hollywood, was obscured by the obvious heat he still had towards Spike. THAT is bitterness. Like I said, this isn't about Spike as a person or what he has/hasn't done for me. This is about his business, because there are other Black directors who are working. So what gives. You have to be really cynical to say "they're all ass-kissing" & "don't have a strong Black voice".

    But we're actually in agreement. The point of the mini-anecdote was that things happen & they aren't always that deep or personal, relating it to Spike in interviews where so many things are deep when they don't need to be. I may love Kanye, but if in every interview if he's a little bit of a jerk, just because he's "expressing himself" or "telling his truth" doesn't take away from that, even if I agree that Bush doesn't care about Black people LOL Sometimes just dial it back a bit. My word choice of "left me cold" was more about the actual employee I was dealing with (kinda like the DMV). My fault for giving that impression.

    I too am a stage actor as well as film (wasn't sure why you brought that up) so I am all too accustomed to not getting what I want , 9 times out of 10 you don't get the job for things that have nothing to do with your work. If anything, I'd be more bitter about not getting Anthony Mackie's part in ABRAHAM LINCOLN. The casting director is extremely selective and I was able to get in there & do my thing. But it was a C.Y.A. audition as Mackie already had the role, they were just negotiating. I was more than happy to have gone in there tho, no bitterness whatsoever. And no bitterness toward Spike. Hell, I'm waaay more critical of myself than anyone else (had a garbage audition last week :-D). If anything, it's about analysis.

    I've learned and am still learning to have a critical eye in this business, who is doing what & why. A few weeks ago someone accused me of name dropping. I laughed because I thought "You are in a business and you have no idea who is doing what & why but talking about it with information at the ready is considered 'name dropping' ". If this was a sport, you would want to know who the top performers & teams are & talk about them logically. A scouting report if you will. And then mirror those reports against what you are trying to do. So why is it in our arena, it's "hating", "crabs in a barrel", "being a bitch". That baffles me. I think it's often why so many of "Our" projects aren't up to snuff because we won't critically look at our shit 'till AFTER the fact. By then it's too late. "How you practice is how you play". But my thoughts on Spike, Spielberg or anybody else, good or bad, is not only just for discussion's sake, but for my own skills of dissection. Learning how to look at a script, not just for "ooo look what I get to do" but is it a good script overall, is it good to do now, who is associated with it & should that be something you align your brand with. You can't just do a project or think it's good because something (someone) about it shares similarities with you, like skin color. I don't just sit and take what happens in this game as a coincidence. Almost ALL of it is calculated, so you have to really think about it.

    If I can't sit down and critically look at what happens and then talk about it, because I am an actor, then I may as well jump off the keyboard now LOL

  • Lynn | July 2, 2011 4:57 AMReply

    @ Jug

    I understand that it is a film blog LOL I assumed that you were involved in mostly Film/TV based on your discussions on this website.

    Sorry to burst your bubble I'm glad that you understand how this industry operates I've learned many lessons from various auditions and I also learned that "who you know " plays a large art in "making it" NOT just talent and sometimes people get really fortunate in certain situations.

    But I hope things work out for you in the future you have a lot of knowledge about the industry I like that.

  • Jug | July 2, 2011 4:33 AMReply

    @Lynn-Hell yeah I'd do a Spike film. LMBAO Beatty, Spike, Redford, guys wgo're the truth but not always the best films, they call you do it. But thats where the critical analysis comes into play, being a problem solver for your own career not just the work. ALL THE PRETTY HORSES was not the greatest film, but Damon went off to do that, solidified his "seriousness" while Affleck did ARMAGGEDON, got rich and became a punchline. You have to have better eyes than the dollar signs or "wow, I get to play a transvestite serial killer from the Phillipines with ADD" but it's directed by Uwe Boll LOL

  • Jug | July 2, 2011 3:37 AMReply

    @Lynn-Yeah I get it LOL Life is about lessons and you take them with you. Bitter is when there is no closure and no perspective.

    Yeah I do stage, but this is a film blog. Wouldn't do to spend my time talking about Kenny Leon, OSF or the Humana Festival LOL

    Great discussion!

  • sandra | July 2, 2011 3:31 AMReply

    @Jug

    1) I based my comments on the fact that we do not have all the facts about what is actually going on. Spike has made it to this point so he must have been nice (whichever definition you choose to use) to a certain point. He wouldn't have endured otherwise. I don't agree with you assigning a definition to my words. Perhaps I wasn't clear. I think that Spike can't be as horrible as they are trying to paint him. I am very careful of mass media and their agendas. As we all know they rehash stories and take things out of context and thrive on starting feuds. Who is Spike being horrible to? Is it just the money guys?

    Before I jump on the "SPIKE IS A SH*T DISTURBER" bandwagon, I need more info into what is going on behind the scenes. Spike was Spike when they gave him money for 'Inside Man'. What changed?

    I do not equate being nice with being a "good nig*a". I do think that there are, however, games that they want him to play that he's not down with.

    2) When mentioning movies about "strong black voices", I clearly stated MAIN STAGE. I didn't say that there weren't great black movies out. I just think that we are pushed aside to specialty fare (a whole lot moreso than the 90s). Everything is dilluted. Mainstream (network tv) have said adios to black shows in favor of multi-ethnic shows where black actors are relegated to support the main characters. Film and television are pointing to a disturbing trend. I find Spike's voice refreshing in the midst of all this madness.

  • Jug | July 2, 2011 2:13 AMReply

    @sandra-Good lord black folks kill me with their buzzwords LOL Not "nice" meaning "good nigga". "Nice" meaning exactly what it means "nice". Not everytime there's an interview it's drama or a created drama. Chill out sometimes. How many people got tired of Kanye "expressing himself all the time, being "truthful"? No you're a jerk who needs to dial it back a bit, even if I do agree about George Bush.

    My point being, not everything has to be seen thru the prism of race & racism. Some things are & some aren't. Otherwise you really are the angry black dude & you marginalize yourself.

    And as for a "strong black voice"..really? Do you even read this blog? Everyday the S&A writers are talking about just that. And in my estimation, isn't the freedom that folks marched & died for, wasn't it to be able to not have to make everything about being black? The freedom to live your life how want? Direct the kinds of popcorn, action hero movies you want? LOL I'm kiddimg but you do know there are other things, other cultures, other ways of viewing the world that do not revolve around black people right?

  • Lynn | July 2, 2011 2:06 AMReply

    "If Madea is not his cup of tea, he has the right to say so. If he doesn’t like something another alist director has done, he has the right to voice his damn opinion "

    I agree w/ you Sandra a lot of people looking in on the outside can say whatever they want about Spike but they do NOT know how difficult it is for him to be a African-American director in Hollywood trying to "make it" and get his work out there distributed, financed the whole bit.

    It is a very difficult process and I understand where he is coming from when he makes comments about other African-American filmmakers like Tyler Perry who can get all the money in the world for producing, financing, directing and starring in a slew of Madea buffoonery comedies.

    I think Spike Lee is a misunderstood dude people don't get him so they can say whatever they want about him because they don't get him creatively. I think it is such a shame that folks like Spike Lee cannot be "free' when expressing themselves in films Hollywood likes to put barriers on the most talented directors who have such extraordinary visions for cinema.

    Hopefully, this man can come back in a BANG like many of you suggested. He is a incredible director and deserves to be recognized.

    @ Jug

    I don't know you and in some ways we share some things you are an actor and so am I but I mostly work on the stage. I would like to take the time to comment on what you said about Spike when you replied to artbizzy's comment.

    "He was cool to me personally & then later 40 Acres & a Mule left me hanging cold, at least in my own limited scope. Was it personal? Nope. Just the cost of doing business (or not). So things happen & they aren’t always nefarious, personal or politically motivated, sometimes shit happens, & you move on."

    I never met Spike so I don't know how he is as a person but you sound a little bitter just like the rest of actors/stage folks who claim that they had the opportunity of working with at one point but it never worked out. (Clifton Powell & John Singleton) That type of scenario is very common in the entertainment industry and actors need to learn to get over it and move on! I mean it sucks but this industry does NOT make any promises for anybody who has a dream.

    I think Blacks trying to "make it" take it harder when their own give them the boot and don't offer them the "chance" the "once in a lifetime" opportunity to be cast in a upcoming project. But this happens all the time and it's often about who you know not what you know.

  • Lynn | July 2, 2011 1:24 AMReply

    @ Jug

    O.K so I said, you are a little "bitter" and I mean bitter in the sense that you are a working actor and I am sure it hurts a bit not to get cast in that particular role you wish to see yourself in. I know you didn't say anything negative about Spike in this post.

    I just wanted to point out the people who stop discussing about his work and start discussing their personal issues with Spike as a person. I think that's the issue here Lee is known for being this guy with a lot of attitude who has a lot to say about everything!

    And the majority people don't like that they would rather see a censored Spike Lee who should just shut up and let Hollywood call the shots.

    Oh, and Jug I didn't know you did stage you always talk about film I just assumed that you were a film actor.

  • Lynn | July 2, 2011 1:16 AMReply

    Jug you said, "That is a weak excuse. Shit is hard, everywhere for everyone but you find a way to get it done. Period."

    Yes. I agree wit you in some ways that he makes too many excuses for himself and Blacks in general make a lot of excuses for not finding enough work in Hollywood.

    But let me say something we are both actors I am in the stage scene and you are in the Film scene it is "hard" like you said for anybody. And I am sure if Spike Lee hired you in one of his projects you wouldn't be so adamant about his film work.

    All I am saying is you make a valid point you have the right too but than again you are a little bitter it sounds to me that you didn't get what you wanted and you learned the hard way and sometimes that's what it comes down to in this entertainment industry.

  • Jug | July 1, 2011 12:48 PMReply

    @Cynthia & Sergio-LMBAO y'all are sick! But I agree with both of you on all counts. I hope he's biding his time, hibernating, getting ready to come out swinging.

    And I was thinking...the Hughes Bros have well documented their disgust with Hollywood, but it never seemed personal & it wasn't each time you saw them. I know journalists hype shit up, but you gotta not play that game either. They took time off, went to Europe, did docs, produced some tv and now they're back & everybody wants to work with them.

    Not errthang has to be WWIII all the time.

  • sandra | July 1, 2011 12:45 PMReply

    Is Spike the biggest problem director of his league? Is he more volatile than the other volatile directors who are receiving funding? Has a director with an equally strong black voice emerged on the main stage since Spike? Among the top black directors out there, who is actually giving a voice to black stories? Everybody is eager to jump at helm of the next fanboy robot comic book movie, but no one is checking for black stories on the main stage.

    Even our NICE black directors aren't working as often as they should/could. FAR FROM IT. Why is THAT? Spike needs to start 1) negotiating with a different pool of money. If your money's not right, you don't have a leg to stand on. If he gets that fixed, he'll be ok. 2) Stop whining about that stupid Oscar crap. It's just a lump of metal. If he wants one that bad, I can make him one in my garage and mail it to him.

    Top alist actors who've worked with Spike don't criticize his work ethic. If Madea is not his cup of tea, he has the right to say so. If he doesn't like something another alist director has done, he has the right to voice his damn opininion. The bottom line is 'Inside Man" made good money. I liked his direction in it. I wonder if they'll make it but with a different more "appropirate" director.

  • Sergio | July 1, 2011 12:28 PMReply

    And Cynthia is quite right. If Spike became the nicest guy in the world it wouldn't help. He's burned too many bridges and ruffled too many feathers. And he's been out of the "game" too long. While he's been away some guy called Tyler something or other has come in and taken all the heat that Spike once had.

    I'm not saying that it's over for him but he has to come back strong with something to grab everyone's attention. Some inde project that will rock Sundance or Toronto.

    By the way has he been to Cannes lately trying to secure financing for his projects just like 50 Cent was doing at the festival back in May? It was Cannes where Spike came into attention 25 years ago with She's Gotta have It and later with Jungle Fever. If he hasn't he's got to get back into the mix

  • Sergio | July 1, 2011 12:15 PMReply

    @art bizzy

    How do I know Michael Bay is an asshole? 1) It's like NO secret in Hollywood (though it probably is not out in the boondocks where you live...) and 2) I have a really good friend who spent 4 months working on Transformers 3 with Bay and he's told me hours of some really insane stories about him. (Some of which I can't even repeat here on the blog). Suffice to say, he's not liked by anyone, but his movies like I said make a ton of dough and that's why people will tolerate him and desperate to make films with him

    P.S. You're really Spike's wife Tonya aren't you?

  • Cynthia | July 1, 2011 10:50 AMReply

    @Jug and @Sergio...I get what you're saying but I find it hard to believe that if, all of sudden, he played "nice" things would be much better for him. I think it's a little deeper than that. I agree, he definitely ruffled some feathers from the PAST but some of those people are still holding grudges.

    I'm doing some research now on black films that have been, according to Hollywood standards, financially successful yet have no prequels or sequels attached. Even when you do things "correctly" it doesn't mean you'll get rewarded or acknowledged by the Hollywood big wigs.

    If he was doing a "comedy"...he probably could get a check tomorrow but they know Spike is more complex than that.

    I do suspect the pendulum will swing back towards black films however. Since companies will no longer make big profits from dvd sales, specialty/niche films with smaller budgets will probably become in vogue again.

  • Jug | July 1, 2011 10:13 AMReply

    @artbizzy-LOL Don't mistake what I'm saying for not liking Spike. It's an assessment. With "our" stuff, we don't do notes well. When someone calls comments on what we're doing-to make it "better" meaning it ain't working-folks label them as a hater or an ass-kisser and the like. If you've ever written, acted or directed, you understand "notes". That's all this is baby. To your question of what I'm doing, I'm a working actor in Hollywood & have attempted to produce exactly "one" film. Not ashamed at all, but I say "attempted" because I pulled out of it when I got the writer the closest she ever would come to 7 figure financing, and things broke down. We couldn't agree to a producer credit for me & which is one of the very definitions of "producer" (among many) & she tried to "move me out". When I walked, the money walked too. Learned a good deal from that experience, before you do it again, get your shit together, so when I talk I'm not just whistling dixie. (sucks she was black too, but that ain't the point).

    And I have met Spike. Actually talked to him. Have you? He was cool to me personally & then later 40 Acres & a Mule left me hanging cold, at least in my own limited scope. Was it personal? Nope. Just the cost of doing business (or not). So things happen & they aren't always nefarious, personal or politically motivated, sometimes shit happens, & you move on.

    Spike is NOT an indie filmmaker. With almost all of his films going thru Columbia, Universal, Warner Bros, Touchstone, New Line, he is decidedly a studio director. Is he doing it on the humble & screening them at ABFF or Pan-African? Tribeca? Sundance? He's like August Wilson, arguably my favorite playwright, but not once did he premiere his plays at an HBCU. The early ones were all done at Yale Rep. Never forget or ignore the ambitious or selfish side of a Person.

    If you mean Spike's "style", Hell Yes he doesn't make mass consumption films, he makes films the way he wants to make them, which I love (when they're good & sometimes part of the issue LOL). But as far as making them without the hand of Hollywood, nope. Sorry. He's in the clique. And from everything I've read, he's pissed he doesn't get the same shakes that the other guys do. And I agree with that. What I don't agree with, is giving fodder for that treatment with lackluster films again & again. I love Sam Jackson, but if Sam wasn't loved by genre fan boys, his career might have stayed at "there's that guy" level. And there is nothing wrong with that, a working actor making his bones, doing what he loves & providing for his. But for me, where it gets crazy, is when you constantly rail against a system yet you steadily do things to be a part of it. Often you don't see that sometimes YOU can be a part of the problem too. You know Spike wants an Oscar man? He was raised on that being the gold standard, there were no BET Awards. Real talk tho, Spike helps MANY filmmakers through producing efforts & mentorships. Most of "black Hollywood" in positions of power today worked Spike Lee film shoots, so this isn't about that. S&A is constantly spotlighting filmmakers from all over the world who make movies devoid of any help from Hollywood. The dirty little truth is that most people want to end up in Hollywood, or it's foreign equivalent, because of the luxuries as a filmmaker & the lifestyles it affords. Not one person here has said Spike should "stop" doing what he is doing. We're saying try something else, expand your game, or if you continue to "do what you're doing" just do it well ( I could go on SHE HATE ME & MIRACLE later).

    But I do agree with one thing you said : "It’s tough for ANYONE in the industry to make a film right now and then be Spike Lee?"

    I wonder tho, how much of that is on him?

  • Jug | July 1, 2011 10:07 AMReply

    @sandra-Since when did being "nice" become being "fake"? Tom Hanks & Denzel are notorious for being a "stickler" on set but by all accounts they are nices guys (read Taraji's interview about Tom, guess folks'll say she's being fake too)-he just says the work is the work & lets get it done right. But she could be "lying". Ya never know...

    Yeah, there is much fakeness, but realize this, the people in Hollywood/Entertainment, as in life, who often are the most confident in what they're doing usually tend to be the nicest. Nice, not pushover or fake, but nice. Cool. Humane. I don't know how Spike is on set, this is about his demeanor in interviews & when engaging others in a public discourse. If I don't know the "private" you, all I have to go off of is the "public" you. We're all entitled to our moments, but if after a while it's drama everytime you open your mouth, the track record starts to speak for itself. And hate to be the bearer of bad news, but unless you won the lottery http://latimesblogs.latimes.com/culturemonster/2008/12/geffen-katzenbe.html or have your own personal sugar daddy, "begging" is exactly what EVERYONE in Hollywood is doing-Spielberg is "begging" for money from Indian media corps like Reliance, except they don't call it begging, they call it "negotiating". When Spike went to Italy to get financing, which was a damn smart move going around Hollywood money, he turned in a dog. Hollywood has a looong memory for revenge, so when he pissed people off in the past (most of it what he said being true) it came back to bite him when the product was not up to snuff....Especially when you don't have the liquidity to fund things yourself. That's where I agree 100% with Sergio. Look at Kevin Smith, once the Indie darling of Hollywood, made ZACK & MIRI MAKE A PORNO which was D.O.A. (actually an okay movie) & Hollywood forgot that dude's name. He went thru a bout of depression & then literally had to beg for money & distribution for his latest movie RED STATE. but he pulled a fast one & recouped that money & it hasn't even "premiered yet" http://www.movieline.com/2011/04/how-kevin-smiths-red-state-earned-back-its-budget-six-months-before-release.php . THAT is a true indie move (artbizzy). If he hadn't, he woulda been screening it to his kid in his basement. I hope those numbers work out for Kevin for real.

    Everything is very easy to be thought of in "absolutes" when outside of the game. Doing it, and being inside of it, stuff gets a little more...complex.

  • Neziah | July 1, 2011 9:45 AMReply

    A great filmmaker that unfortunately dug himself a hole. When and if he comes back to Hollywood, I hope he comes back with a bang, because he needs to make a huge impression these days.

  • artbizzy | July 1, 2011 8:24 AMReply

    Keep doing it, Spike! Keep on keeping on, my brother. You keep the light on for artists trying to stay true to themselves and create art they believe in and in the ways they see fit.

    Spike Lee is an INDEPENDENT film-maker. I am actually surprised at the vitriolic comments towards him and the judgements about his attitude. And then people start claiming that this other person in Hollywood is also an asshole...yada yada. how do you know? Most of this as all hearsay. Many of us would probably look like assholes too if we were trying to break barriers down inside of a racist system, which he has. Give the man a break. It's tough for ANYONE in the industry to make a film right now and then be Spike Lee? This is not the glorious late 80's and 90's. Who would want to kiss Hollywood's lily-white ass if they don't have to or if they have something else they want to say that Hollywood is not interested in? From my perspective, Spike Lee has always been motivated by the desire to tell the stories he believed in. He's an inspiration because he had the courage to do the damn thing when he had the chance and he still here like us all, trying. What are you doing?

  • Lynn | July 1, 2011 8:18 AMReply

    "Spike picks a fight with EVERYONE, and often when whatever he’s talking about ain’t that deep. That Clint Eastwood mess totally unnecessary. It was almost like he did it to make waves for his coming film, which decidedly paled in comparison to Clint’s Iwo Jima films-whether you like them or not."

    I'm afraid too many people are too "hard" on Spike. I mean Spike expresses how he feels that's the best way I can put it. I don't see a whole lot of people in the industry who can portray characters with actual stories, relationships etc. Spike knows the ins and outs of Hollywood I guess that's why he has so much to say about everything.

  • sandra | July 1, 2011 7:53 AMReply

    I think there should be room for all. I don't think that Spike should fit the mold. He is not a BUTT KISSER, that's just how he is. I can relate. That is his nature.

    I am horrible at small/fake talk. I avoid certain social gatherings like Sarah Palin avoids libraries.

    He can continue talking sh*t as long as he ups his financing game. Begging is not attractive! Of all people, why is Spike still going to Hollywood for cash? He must be a glutton for humiliation.

  • Jug | July 1, 2011 6:34 AMReply

    @Zeus & Sergio-LOL Y'all ain't said nothin' but a word. Film jail is real as hell. But I look at it like this...Yes race factors in. But it's not THE deciding factor. Bay is a straight up asshole & M Night is ridiculous too. Neither of these men are Black & Hollywood (America) has a truly strained history with dealing with non-whites, Blacks specifically, at best. But as Sergio said, they have made BOOKOO bucks for the studios, in the Billions, which someone "likes" them. Spike has made...umm yeah.

    So that, to me, is where race ceases to be a trumpet call for Spike. It's about Spike's lack of support due to Spike himself. Eddie Murphy makes crap movie after crap movie (live action) & is known to be quite ridiculous (for certain scenes he won't even show up, he has his stand-in do it because it's not enough 'acting' for him) but Paramount will love that dude 'till he's in the ground, and maybe after too! It just ain't the money, because A LOT of it gets wasted on set for his entourage & what not, but it's because somebody, somewhere, likes that dude. Look at Jennifer Lopez, for a while she was radioactive, because she was super ridiculous not just as a person but the riders in her contract were un-fucking real. But give her a season on American Idol being "nice" and she is now in two movies, has an overall deal with Fox & is mulling a return, presumably 'till a better film deal comes along or they start paying her Simon Cowell money. Somebody, somewhere, has to like you. The people that like Spike don't hold sway in Hollywood & apparently the people inside of Hollywood are non-existent.

    And to add insult to injury, Spike dogs the industry ITSELF. That's a no-no. For anyone who reads Deadline.com, it would be like Nikki Finke, after allll the shit she has talked about these studio/network heads (calling them bitches & pansies, idiots by name) asking for some money to do a movie. There was a pilot based extremely close to her in dev at HBO & , funny this, she doesn't talk bad about HBO. See the connection?

    And it STILL didn't get ordered to series, so go figure...

    As much as we talk all this mess about freedom of speech, tell it like is, "keepin' it real", folks don't want to hear what you "really" have to say. How many of us roll our eyes when an entertainer, especially an actor, gets up & voices their political opinion & "save the whales" nonsense? Same difference. We don't wanna hear it, "shut the fuck up, make my movie, dance monkey dance". Sorry but that's the truth.

    Folks who come to this blog may be cut from a different cloth, but most of us ain't John Q moviegoer. To a regular person,. we are consumable goods. Would you really have a debate about the state of Israeli/Palestinian relations with your bagel? Or better yet with your DVD player?That's technically what it is. Yes, he's a person AND a citizen, so he SHOULD be entitled to his opinions, to be able to express them freely & often. But that's not the reality of the Entertainer/Entertainee relationship.

    And Spike has violated that unwritten rule one too many times. Folks like Roman Polanski (convicted pedophile rapist), Charlie Sheen (convicted drug abuser & prostitute patronizer), Howard Rollins (admitted cross-dresser), R Kelly (Underage girl sexer upper & pee marksman) & the like can get a free pass...or at least a "get outta jail free" card & a return engagement offer. Because they leave the establishment alone.

    Spike picks a fight with EVERYONE, and often when whatever he's talking about ain't that deep. That Clint Eastwood mess totally unnecessary. It was almost like he did it to make waves for his coming film, which decidedly paled in comparison to Clint's Iwo Jima films-whether you like them or not.

    I'm with Sergio, Spike doing something different, could really help him out. Even Jordan had to develop an outside game...

  • R.J. | July 1, 2011 6:27 AMReply

    @Zeus: Actually, yeah his movies do make THAT much money. The Village, The Happening, and even The Last Airbender were financially successful. Even Devil, which he produced and came up with the story for, was a success (especially for a film made on a $10 million budget).

  • Zeus | July 1, 2011 6:03 AMReply

    My question is, why isn't M. Knight Shylman in "movie jail"?

    His films make that much money? Critical pan, after critical pan this guy still gets jobs.

    AND he is a JERK too!

  • Sergio | July 1, 2011 5:56 AMReply

    Jug has a point up... to a point. Yes Spike is known as a jerk, but a jerk who hasn't been successful at the box office in quite a while. Yes true, Inside Man made money, but don't forget it was produced by Brian Glazer and his and Ron Howard's production company Imagine Entertainment. Spike was kept, no doubt, on a very tight rein on the film by Glazer. The film was seen more as another hit movie for Glazer than Spike's biggest hit. But when Spike is allowed freedom t do whatever he wants the results are.. well...Miracle At St Anna. He's a director who needs to a tough producer on him to keep him from stumbling into his worst excesses.

    The fact is that St Anne put Spike in "movie jail" has they call it. when a director makes a really bad film (or a couple) that tanks at the box office. All of sudden no one takes your calls, your calls don't get returned, offers dry up and your career is in the toilet. Sometimes it takes years for directors to get out of jail and some directors never get out at all.

    Michael Bay is known has one of the biggest assholes in the business but his films makes a ton money. And he does have friends. Reluctant friends that put up with him, but friends nevertheless. Transformers 3 is already projected to do $200 million domestically and over $350 million by Monday. He can be the biggest jerk in the world but all ifs forgiven when your films pull in big bucks like that.

    I've always wished that Spike had moved on to try, from time to time, other types of genres free of his "Spikeness": For example what he he did an action film just to provide the audience with thrills, a crazy slapstick comedy, a suspense thriller, a kid's movies. No agenda. Just to entertain the audience. He certainly had the chops to try to mix it up and do other types of films and do them very well. I think he would have been in better shape career wise.

  • tambay | July 1, 2011 5:11 AMReply

    Would you give your boy $5 to get a sandwich after he called your moms a bitch?

    Well, if she was, yeah!

    Jokes... just jokes...

  • Jug | July 1, 2011 4:48 AMReply

    And for me, it's the clearest representation that it isn't all about money in Hollywood. I've said a bunch of times that Hollywood is all about money & that's all that matters, but that isn't entirely accurate. You still have to be liked, by someone, somewhere, when making that money. And Spike has no friends. At least not in the circles of people who care or can provide enough funds.

    And when he did go outside of those circles to get funding, we got the classic MIRACLE AT ST ANNA *said dripping with much sarcasm*.

    I love Spike & his early films, but being the person that he is & the Vanguard that he was has come face to face with the quality of his current product & become a self-fulfilling prophecy. Spike doesn't get money because people don't like Spike because of his politics & attitude, but then when he gets his shot he produces a hot mess & so the Hollywood response is "See, that's why we don't need to overlook his shit" like Charlie Sheen. I know I know, race has a part to play in it, always will, but after allll of that, nobody wants to work with a dick all day everyday for three months at a pop & then have said dick curse you to hell & back in interviews after you gave him $30 Mil to make his epic.

    Would you give your boy $5 to get a sandwich after he called your moms a bitch?

  • Laura | July 1, 2011 4:03 AMReply

    ..and I was looking forward to it. Although I'm not surprised they haven't funded it. "Hollywood" has a deep hate for Spike Lee and all things Spike Lee.

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