In April of last year, it was reported that director Spike Lee was working on a new feature-length drama about gentrification called, "Brooklyn Loves MJ" that was rumored to star Samuel L. Jackson, John Turturro, Julianne Moore, Rosie Perez, Anthony Mackie and Kerry Washington. We confirmed as much (at least the existence of) when we got our hands on the script. Lawyers for Lee made us remove all and every trace of details about the screenplay, but some elements about the project remain here on this Associated Content Yahoo blog (not our site .esq dudes). They write, the film is expected to "examine the potential community impact of a tribute concert and neighborhood celebration in Michael Jackson's memory, as this fictional event might occur in a re-gentrified area of Brooklyn, New York."
Alrighty then, but a recent report out of Chicago says that "Brooklyn Loves MJ" has been unfortunately shelved.
A Playlist reader wrote in last week to say that a friend had heard Lee speak on Jan 18 in Chicago at a Martin Luther King, Jr. event. When the filmmaker took questions from the audience, this friend asked the director how his Michael Jackson-related film project was coming along, and he replied abruptly, "It's not happening." He then called for the next question and reader says he was apparently visibly upset. [Emails and calls to Lee's CAA reps to confirm or clarify were not returned.]
The director is an avid Michael Jackson fan and this indeed must be upsetting to him. Lee staged a community block party tribute for Jackson on what would have been the entertainer's 51st birthday on August 29, 2009 in Prospect Park, Brooklyn. Lee did the same again in 2010. He also directed two short films for the Jackson protest song "They Don't Care About Us," the track that was notoriously known for its "Jew me, sue me, everybody do me/ Kick me, kike me, don't you black or white me" racial slurs in 1996. Jackson returned the favor by recording the original song "On The Line" (written by Babyface) for Lee's 1996 pic, "Get On The Bus," however the song -- which opened the film -- was never featured on the soundtrack. Lee also directed the video for "This Is It."
Up next for Lee seems to be "Nagasaki Deadline," which is a thriller about a troubled FBI agent and his desperate race to thwart two terrorist attacks on American soil. In case you've forgotten Lee has already said that plans for an "Inside Man 2" have been scrapped. [photo credit of Spike Lee, Eternal Polk]