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Casting Watch: Spike Lee's Kickstarter Joint, 'Da Blood of Jesus,' Adds Michael K. Williams UPDATED

Photo of Beth Hanna By Beth Hanna | Thompson on Hollywood August 21, 2013 at 2:29PM

With Spike Lee's blood addiction comedy now successfully funded on Kickstarter (its campaigning ended August 21, with a little over $1.4 million raised), the director has clearly found a preferred method for getting the word out about his films. He recently used the site to announce the casting of beloved character actor Michael K. Williams in the crowdfunded project.
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Spike Lee
Spike Lee

With Spike Lee's blood addiction comedy now successfully funded on Kickstarter (its campaigning ended August 21, with a little over $1.4 million raised), the director has clearly found a preferred method for getting the word out about his films. Not only is he sending updates on casting for this new project (more info below), he's also using the crowdfunding platform to plug his upcoming joint, "Oldboy," which hits theaters in October.

Michael K. Williams
Michael K. Williams

Michael K. Williams ("12 Years a Slave," "Boardwalk Empire," Omar from "The Wire") has been cast in the film, along with Stephen Tyrone Williams ("Restless City," "Children of "God") and the previously announced Zaraah Abrahams ("Waterloo Road").

Despite this new casting, very little about the actual film is yet known, UPDATE: except for its title, "Da Blood of Jesus." The Kickstarter page's tagline reads: "Humans who are addicted to blood. Funny, sexy and bloody. A new kind of love story (and not a remake of 'Blacula')."

Lee's hard work to meet his goal -- sending Twitter updates, Kickstarter updates, editing his campaign video so it hit the right note with potential backers, and making a no-bullshit appearance on TV to promote it -- paid off, with 6,421 backers ultimately contributing to the campaign.

Meanwhile, the director's presence on Kickstarter, along with other celebs who have chosen to go the crowdfunding route, has done favors for the website, bringing in visitors who would normally not alight it. For example, with Lee's project, 47% of the backers had never been to Kickstarter before. One of the most remarkable things about Lee's Kickstarter involvement is how it's proven that a highly contentious topic (ie, celebrities with access to money turning to crowdfunding) can be given a completely new, positive spin.  

This article is related to: News, Spike Lee, Kickstarter , News


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Thompson on Hollywood

Born and raised in Manhattan, Anne Thompson grew up going to the Thalia and The New Yorker and wound up at grad Cinema Studies at NYU. She worked at United Artists and Film Comment before heading west as that magazine's west coast editor. She wrote for the LA Weekly, Sight and Sound, Empire, The New York Times and Entertainment Weekly before serving as West Coast Editor of Premiere. She wrote for The Washington Post, The London Observer, Wired, More, and Vanity Fair, and did staff stints at The Hollywood Reporter and Variety. She eventually took her blog Thompson on Hollywood to Indiewire. She taught film criticism at USC Critical Studies, and continues to host the fall semester of “Sneak Previews” for UCLA Extension.