By Benjamin Wright | The Playlist January 26, 2012 at 8:58AM
While Spike Lee may be making headlines at the Sundance Film Festival for both his fiery rants and his latest effort “Red Hook Summer,” he took some time out to help boost the profile of a rising filmmaker who is already earning acclaim. Lee appeared alongside Dee Rees of “Pariah” fame (he executive produced the film), and the pair had an extended conversation with New York Times writer David Carr that’s well worth the watch (it's in full below).
While the entire talk is fascinating, it's Rees' revelation about what she's working on next that's of particular interest. “I already had another script written by the time ‘Pariah’ was out, I know that you got to have it done, so I am working on this script called ‘Large Print,’” said Rees. “It’s about this mid-south, fifty-something insurance adjuster, who’s recently divorced and she has to redefine happiness for herself.”
Sounds like some heavy material to get financed but, Rees, whose “Pariah” centered on a young girl’s struggles with sexual expression and familial discord in Brooklyn, won't have to worry about finding a home for the film. When Focus Features picked up her debut feature at Sundance last year, they also signed a deal for her next film as well.
“So that’s another film where it’s going to be two fifty-something black women,” Rees further explained, “and we’re going to make it for what we have to make it for to get it out.” Though that's not all Rees has on her plate, she's also working on a project with one of the best TV networks right now and an Oscar nominee as well.
“We’re also working on a TV series with HBO and Viola Davis,” said Rees, to which Spike interrupts quite humorously by saying “Whoa, whoa, whoa, that’s enough. Don’t say anymore about what you do.” But despite Lee's protestations, the project was quietly announced last summer and will center on city corruption through the eyes of a headmaster at a prep school. Rees is writing the script and developing the story, and may direct the pilot episode as well.
“Pariah” has earned deserved acclaim all over, including from us, and the prospect of Davis, and Rees working together with HBO could only yield some pretty great television. And here's hoping "Large Print" gets off the ground soon, and that Rees has another reason to hit Sundance next year.