Click to Skip Ad
Closing in...
Watch: Robert Richardson Explains Why He Took His Name Off 'World War Z' And More In 58-Minute Cinematographer Talk Watch: Robert Richardson Explains Why He Took His Name Off 'World War Z' And More In 58-Minute Cinematographer Talk George Miller Says He Originally Wanted The Music In 'Mad Max: Fury Road' To Only Come From The Doof Warrior George Miller Says He Originally Wanted The Music In 'Mad Max: Fury Road' To Only Come From The Doof Warrior Stephen King Says Stanley Kubrick's 'The Shining' Is "Like A Big, Beautiful Cadillac With No Engine Inside It" Stephen King Says Stanley Kubrick's 'The Shining' Is "Like A Big, Beautiful Cadillac With No Engine Inside It" Review: Coen Brothers' 'Hail, Caesar!' Starring Josh Brolin, George Clooney, Scarlett Johansson, Tilda Swinton, And More Review: Coen Brothers' 'Hail, Caesar!' Starring Josh Brolin, George Clooney, Scarlett Johansson, Tilda Swinton, And More Naomi Watts Confirmed For David Lynch’s ‘Twin Peaks’ Revival; Tom Sizemore Joins Cast Naomi Watts Confirmed For David Lynch’s ‘Twin Peaks’ Revival; Tom Sizemore Joins Cast Watch: Quentin Tarantino Talks 5 Movies To Watch Before 'The Hateful Eight' In 7-Minute Video Watch: Quentin Tarantino Talks 5 Movies To Watch Before 'The Hateful Eight' In 7-Minute Video Ridley Scott Confirms Noomi Rapace Won't Be Returning For 'Alien: Covenant' Ridley Scott Confirms Noomi Rapace Won't Be Returning For 'Alien: Covenant' SAG Award Winners: ‘Spotlight’ Wins Best Ensemble, Leonardo DiCaprio, Idris Elba & Brie Larson Also Score Big SAG Award Winners: ‘Spotlight’ Wins Best Ensemble, Leonardo DiCaprio, Idris Elba & Brie Larson Also Score Big Review: ‘Jane Got A Gun’ Starring Natalie Portman, Joel Edgerton & Ewan McGregor Review: ‘Jane Got A Gun’ Starring Natalie Portman, Joel Edgerton & Ewan McGregor Mel Gibson Gave Nate Parker Advice On Making 'The Birth Of A Nation' Mel Gibson Gave Nate Parker Advice On Making 'The Birth Of A Nation' The 25 Most Anticipated New TV Shows Of 2016 The 25 Most Anticipated New TV Shows Of 2016 The 20 Best Documentaries Of 2015 The 20 Best Documentaries Of 2015 The 20 Best Films Of 2015 The 20 Best Films Of 2015 The 25 Best Action Movies Of The 21st Century So Far The 25 Best Action Movies Of The 21st Century So Far The 25 Best Comedies Of The 21st Century So Far The 25 Best Comedies Of The 21st Century So Far The 25 Best Sci-Fi Films Of The 21st Century So Far The 25 Best Sci-Fi Films Of The 21st Century So Far The 25 Best Animated Films Of The 21st Century So Far The 25 Best Animated Films Of The 21st Century So Far The 50 Best Films Of The Decade So Far The 50 Best Films Of The Decade So Far The 25 Best Horror Films Of The 21st Century So Far The 25 Best Horror Films Of The 21st Century So Far Terry Gilliam Talks The "Simplistic" Films Of Steven Spielberg, Dumbing Down Of Audiences, 'Don Quixote' Start Date & More Terry Gilliam Talks The "Simplistic" Films Of Steven Spielberg, Dumbing Down Of Audiences, 'Don Quixote' Start Date & More

Sundance Exclusive: Spike Lee Says 'Brooklyn Loves MJ' Might Be His Next Film; Trio Of Biopics, Including James Brown Film, Might Be Dead

The Playlist By Rodrigo Perez | The Playlist January 23, 2012 at 9:46PM

The talk of the slopes, cold huddled buses and inebriated parties so far at Sundance 2012 has arguably been Spike Lee’s latest film, “Red Hook Summer” (read our review here). Evidently a polarizing film (some seem to love it, some hate it; our reviewer dug it), it’s nonetheless lit up the town with passionately divided yay or nay conversations and good films should always provoke at least some discussion.
1
Red Hook Summer Spike Lee On Set

The talk of the slopes, cold huddled buses and inebriated parties so far at Sundance 2012 has arguably been Spike Lee’s latest film, “Red Hook Summer” (read our review here). Evidently a polarizing film (some seem to love it, some hate it; our reviewer dug it), it’s nonetheless lit up the town with passionately divided yay or nay conversations and good films should always provoke at least some discussion.

Arguably almost overshadowing the film itself was Lee’s heated and controversial Q&A after last night’s premiere in Park City (which you can read about in detail here) which included more than one fiery rant. "We never went to the studios with this film...I bought a camera and said we're gonna do this motherfucking ourselves,” he said about financing his latest.

Absent from the feature-film game since 2008’s poorly received box-office bomb, “Miracle at St. Anna,” “Red Hook Summer” may be Lee's first narrative drama in three years, but it wasn’t necessarily supposed to be the first return to his Brooklyn roots that made it to the screen. Circa 2010, Lee was working on a film from an original script he had written called, “Brooklyn Loves MJ,” which was classic, old-school Spike Lee. Set in Fort Greene, Brooklyn, this Cain-and-Abel-like story of two brothers centered around the themes of encroaching Caucasian gentrification, the effects of gangs and drugs in the neighborhood, and it took place in the summer of 2009, the day that Michael Jackson died. It was a striking and ambitious piece of work that was rumored to star people like Samuel L. Jackson, John Turturro, Julianne Moore, Rosie Perez, Anthony Mackie and Kerry Washington.

The film never actually happened. But Playlist contributor Todd Gilchrist sat down with Lee this afternoon and tried to get some answers. “That was first [before ‘Red Hook Summer’],” Lee said simply of the project. “We couldn’t get it done.”

The reason why, Lee said, was his major bête noire of late: money. “That was budget. I mean, that was something I was not able to finance myself,” he said. “[‘Red Hook Summer’] was done with a SAG low-budget agreement. That film, I could not have done like that.”

Some, including us, speculated that receiving the rights to not only Michael Jackson’s name, but his music could be cost-prohibitive for a project like this. “If I know some people, they give me a break sometimes,” Lee said, having had music by Stevie Wonder and Prince in his films before. “But I don’t get the music free, and nor should I.”

While arguably the studio remake of “Oldboy” is next on Lee’s plate (though its start date was recently pushed) when asked if “Brooklyn Loves MJ” could be coming soon, the director answered, “I hope so.” He knocked on wood and said, “Hopefully that will be the next story,” though it’s open to debate whether he meant the next personal story or simply the next film he follows “Red Hook Summer” with.

As for that trio of biopics of famous African-American historical figures, baseball legend Jackie Robinson, seminal boxing figure Joe Louis and the inimitable godfather of soul James Brown, he had in the works, well, we may never see them at all.

When asked about them Lee said, “Here’s the ones that didn’t happen. Jackie Robinson, there’s one on Joe Louis and Max Schmelling [which Lee recently revealed he discussed with Arnold Schwarznegger] and the last one was going to be on James Brown. Those were three films that never came to fruition.”

Just in case, we asked once more could “Brooklyn Loves MJ” be next? “Who knows?” he said. “Right now we’re focused and concentrating on ‘Red Hook Summer.’ " While his latest effort doesn’t have distribution yet, we imagine it’ll only be a few days until it’s announced and that it will hopefully stick to its target launch date of summer 2012.

This article is related to: Spike Lee, Red Hook Summer, Brooklyn Loves MJ, Sundance 2012 Interviews


The Playlist

The obsessives' guide to contemporary cinema via film discussion, news, reviews, features, nostalgia, movie music, soundtracks, DVDs and more.


E-Mail Updates