Spike Lee apologises for defending Woody Allen

Spike Lee has apologised after defending fellow filmmaker Woody Allen.The Do the Right Thing director was heavily criticised for the comments he made in a recent interview with New York radio station WOR, in which he said Allen was his close friend. “I…

Spike Lee has apologised after defending fellow filmmaker Woody Allen.

The Do the Right Thing director was heavily criticised for the comments he made in a recent interview with New York radio station WOR, in which he said Allen was his close friend.

“I’d just like to say Woody Allen is a great, great filmmaker,” Lee began. “This cancel thing is not just Woody, and I think that when we look back on it, we’re going to see that – short of killing somebody – I don’t know you can just erase somebody like they never existed. He’s a friend of mine, a fellow Knicks fan, and I know he’s going through it right now.”

In a post on Twitter on Saturday, Lee apologised for his comments in the interview, and insisted he was not dismissing victims of sexual abuse or violence.

“I Deeply Apologize. My Words Were WRONG. I Do Not And Will Not Tolerate Sexual Harassment, Assault Or Violence. Such Treatment Causes Real Damage That Can’t Be Minimized.-Truly, Spike Lee,” he posted.

As the #MeToo movement gained traction in late 2017, Allen’s adopted daughter Dylan Farrow went public once again with allegations that he sexually abused her when she was a child in the ’90s. Allen has always denied the accusation.

His movie, A Rainy Day in New York, which was filmed in 2017, was dropped by its original distributor Amazon Studios and shelved for some time before eventually being released in territories outside of the U.S. from last year.

His memoir, Apropos of Nothing, was dropped by its original publisher following social media outrage over its publication and it was subsequently released by a different publisher earlier this year.

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Spike Lee: ‘I’m not going to a movie theatre until there’s a vaccine’

Spike Lee won’t go to a cinema until a vaccine has been found for the coronavirus. In April, the BlackKklansman director spoke out against the decision to reopen cinemas in Georgia while the pandemic is still ongoing, and in a new interview with Vanit…

Spike Lee won’t go to a cinema until a vaccine has been found for the coronavirus.

In April, the BlackKklansman director spoke out against the decision to reopen cinemas in Georgia while the pandemic is still ongoing, and in a new interview with Vanity Fair, he insisted he won’t be going to any venue in which large groups of people gather until there’s a vaccination against the Covid-19 virus.

“I know I’m not going to a movie theatre,” he stated. “I know I’m not going to a Broadway show. I know I’m not going to Yankee Stadium. Corona is a b**ch. Corona is not playing. You f**k around you’re going to get killed, you’re going to die. I’m not ready to go.”

Lee is releasing his new Vietnam War drama, Da 5 Bloods, on Netflix this month, and is scheduled to follow that up with an adaptation of the Prince of Cats graphic novel.

Production was due to kick off in Brooklyn in summer but he doesn’t see filming happening any time soon as there is not yet “a feasible solution” to make sets safe enough for the cast and crew.

“How are you going to do a love scene anymore, or an intimate scene? I mean, are you going to do a movie by remote, like Saturday Night Live? I don’t know how you do that. So, we’re on pause now,” the 63-year-old explained.

Lee was set to serve as the jury president at the 2020 Cannes Film Festival before the edition was cancelled. Cannes organisers hope he will take on the role for the 2021 festival, but this is yet to be confirmed.

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Spike Lee releases short film in response to George Floyd’s death

Spike Lee has responded to the death of George Floyd by making a powerful short film comparing instances of police brutality with a scene from his movie Do the Right Thing.Unarmed African-American man Floyd passed away on 25 May after being apprehended…

Spike Lee has responded to the death of George Floyd by making a powerful short film comparing instances of police brutality with a scene from his movie Do the Right Thing.

Unarmed African-American man Floyd passed away on 25 May after being apprehended by cops in Minneapolis, Minnesota.

Derek Chauvin, the white police officer who was filmed kneeling on his neck, has been charged with third-degree murder and second-degree manslaughter.

Floyd’s death has sparked outrage on social media and widespread protests and riots, and Lee added his own powerful statement into the mix on Sunday, when he debuted a short film titled 3 Brothers during an appearance on a CNN special news report.

The short opens with the words “Will History Stop Repeating Itself?”, before cutting together footage of the arrests of Floyd and Eric Garner, who died after being placed in a chokehold by a white police officer in 2014, combined with a clip from his 1989 movie Do the Right Thing, in which Bill Nunn’s character Radio Raheem dies during a brawl after being choked by police officers.

Speaking to CNN host Don Lemon, the BlacKkKlansman director said the protesters, even those who have turned to rioting, are merely demanding justice against the ongoing issue of racism and police brutality in America.

“How can people not understand why people are acting the way they are?” he warned. “This is not new, we saw with the riots in the ’60s, the assassination of Dr (Martin Luther) King, every time something jumps off and we don’t get our justice, people are reacting the way they do to be heard … We are seeing this again and again and again…This is the thing: the killing of black bodies, that is what this country is built upon.”

Spike later posted the short film on Twitter with the caption, “3 Brothers-Radio Raheem, Eric Garner And George Floyd.”

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Cannes Film Festival bosses rule out physical 2020 edition

Cannes Film Festival officials have decided against staging a physical edition of the 2020 event. The 2020 edition of the prestigious French festival was scheduled to kick off on Tuesday, but it was postponed due to the coronavirus pandemic back in Ma…

Cannes Film Festival officials have decided against staging a physical edition of the 2020 event.

The 2020 edition of the prestigious French festival was scheduled to kick off on Tuesday, but it was postponed due to the coronavirus pandemic back in March. Organisers originally hoped to stage it in late June or early July, but they have now decided a physical edition will not take place this year.

“As of today, a physical edition seems complicated to organise, so we are going forward with an announcement of films from the (initial Official) Selection at the beginning of June,” a festival spokesperson confirmed to Variety.

Cannes organisers are set to announce a revised Official Selection of movies in June and plan to present these titles at other film festivals, such as the Venice International Film Festival, which takes place in September, and across cinemas.

In an interview with Screen Daily, Cannes director Thierry Fremaux explained that the films in the Official Selection will be those scheduled for theatrical release between now and spring 2021 and will receive a “Cannes 2020” label for their alternative festival and/or theatrical releases.

“The selection probably won’t be under the usual structured format that we all know with the Competition, Un Certain Regard, and Out of Competition sections,” Fremaux said. “It would have been ridiculous to behave as if nothing had happened. But in our heart of hearts what we want to do is promote the films that we saw and loved. We received films from around the world, magnificent works, and it’s our duty to help them find their audience.”

The director revealed that some filmmakers have opted for their films to be reconsidered for the 2021 edition instead. There will be no jury or awards this year, so Fremaux is welcoming Spike Lee, who was set to be 2020 jury president, back for next year’s event.

Lee’s upcoming movie Da 5 Bloods was set to debut at the festival ahead of its release on Netflix on 12 June. He added that Wes Anderson’s The French Dispatch would have premiered at Cannes too, but will no longer be part of the Official Selection.

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Spike Lee criticises decision to reopen cinemas

Spike Lee has spoken out against the decision to reopen cinemas in Georgia despite the ongoing coronavirus pandemic. Georgia Governor Brian Kemp recently announced that he would be relaxing quarantine restrictions and reopening select non-essential bu…

Spike Lee has spoken out against the decision to reopen cinemas in Georgia despite the ongoing coronavirus pandemic.

Georgia Governor Brian Kemp recently announced that he would be relaxing quarantine restrictions and reopening select non-essential businesses, such as cinemas, beginning 27 April. His decision has sparked controversy, with many believing it is too soon to go back to movie theatres, given that the Covid-19 pandemic is still sweeping America, the country currently worst affected by the crisis.

The BlackKklansman director made it clear that he doesn’t support the decision in a statement to Vanity Fair, in which he stated that the focus should be on testing people for the virus.

“Open Movie Theatres Now? Hell To Da Naw,” Lee wrote in an email in his signature style. “I Got Alot More Movies To Make, Not Rollin’ Da Dice Wit’ Da Only Life I Got. TESTING. TESTING And Mo’ TESTING (sic).”

Lee isn’t the only filmmaker taking a stand. Veep creator Armando Iannucci took to Twitter this week to make it known that he doesn’t support his film The Death of Stalin being shown in the reopened movie theatres.

“I’d like to make it clear I don’t approve of any of my films being shown in US movie theatres before it’s clear the virus has been overcome. So, I don’t approve of The Death of Stalin being shown in US movie theatres as early as May 29th. That’s simply too early,” he wrote.

Officials at IFC Films, which distributed his satire, announced this week that they would be making 200 of their titles available for free to independent movie theatre owners looking to fill their slates when they reopen.

There won’t be any new studio films to populate the cinema schedules for weeks as they have all been postponed due to the crisis. The next big releases are Christopher Nolan’s Tenet and Disney’s live-action remake of Mulan, which are currently slated to open in July.

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Spike Lee shares script for unmade Jackie Robinson project

Spike Lee gifted film fans the script for his unmade Jackie Robinson biopic on Sunday. The BlacKkKlansman director posted a video on Instagram on Sunday in which he told his followers he had been reflecting on his life and career while self-isolating …

Spike Lee gifted film fans the script for his unmade Jackie Robinson biopic on Sunday.

The BlacKkKlansman director posted a video on Instagram on Sunday in which he told his followers he had been reflecting on his life and career while self-isolating at home in New York City and started thinking about one of his “dream projects”, a biopic about sporting legend Robinson, the first African-American to play in Major League Baseball (MLB) in the modern era.

He also revealed he envisioned Denzel Washington for the part, but the Training Day actor felt he was too old.

“I pulled this script out of the vault and so, I want to share the script with you. And also, don’t worry about it if you don’t like baseball or sports… This is a great American story,” he said. “Hope you enjoy it. If you don’t, that’s alright too. It’s never getting made, but I wanted to share this script with you. Be safe! Be safe! Social distancing! Peace.”

In the caption to the video, he wrote, “Good Sunday Afternoon From Da Corona Epicenter Of The USA-NYC. I Dug Deep Into Da 40 Acres Vault And Pulled Out This Script From One Of My EPIC Dream (Never Got Made) Projects – JACKIE ROBINSON. You Do Not Have To Be A Baseball Fan To Enjoy. This Script Is A Great American Story. Be Safe. Peace, Light And Love (sic).”

He added a link to a Dropbox page into his Instagram bio. Fans who click on the link are taken through to the fifth draft of the Jackie Robinson script, which was written in 1996.

When he filmed the video, Lee sat on a sofa in front of a movie poster from Alfred E. Green’s 1950 movie The Jackie Robinson Story, in which Robinson played himself. The sportsman was also portrayed by Black Panther’s Chadwick Boseman in 2013 movie 42.

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Spike Lee to lead Cannes Film Festival jury

Spike Lee will serve as jury president during the 2020 Cannes Film Festival.The BlacKkKlansman director and his team of jurors, which are yet to be announced, will watch all the films selected for the official competition and decide which should receiv…

Spike Lee will serve as jury president during the 2020 Cannes Film Festival.

The BlacKkKlansman director and his team of jurors, which are yet to be announced, will watch all the films selected for the official competition and decide which should receive the Palme d’Or for Best Film.

“In this life I have lived, my biggest blessings have been when they arrived unexpected, when they happened out of nowhere. When I got the call that I was offered the opportunity to be president of Cannes jury for 2020, I was shocked, happy, surprised and proud all at the same time,” Lee said in a statement. “To me, the Cannes Film Festival (besides being the most important film festival in the world – no disrespect to anybody) has had a great impact on my film career. You could easily say Cannes changed the trajectory of who I became in world cinema.

“In closing, I’m honoured to be the first person of the African diaspora (USA) to be named president of the Cannes jury and of a main film festival. The Lee family sincerely thanks the Festival de Cannes, Pierre Lescure and Thierry Fremaux and the great people of France who have supported my film career throughout four decades. I will always treasure this special relationship.”

The director has had a strong relationship with Cannes since his debut feature, She’s Gotta Have It, premiered in 1986, and his follow-up, Do the Right Thing, was selected for the official competition in 1989. He has had seven films debut at the French festival, with his most recent effort, BlacKkKlansman, winning the Grand Prix in 2018.

Lee follows in the footsteps of Mexican director Alejandro G. Inarritu, who headed the jury in 2019 and selected Bong Joon Ho’s Parasite for the Palme d’Or. The thriller became the first South Korean film to be nominated for Best Picture at the Oscars on Monday.

The 73rd Cannes Film Festival is set to run 12 to 23 May.

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Spike Lee to direct hip-hop love story Prince of Cats

Spike Lee is to direct a version of William Shakespeare’s Romeo and Juliet set in the 1980s New York hip-hop scene.According to The Hollywood Reporter, the BlacKkKlansman filmmaker has closed a deal to direct Prince of Cats, an adaptation of Ron Wimber…

Spike Lee is to direct a version of William Shakespeare’s Romeo and Juliet set in the 1980s New York hip-hop scene.

According to The Hollywood Reporter, the BlacKkKlansman filmmaker has closed a deal to direct Prince of Cats, an adaptation of Ron Wimberly’s graphic novel.

The 2012 book tells Romeo and Juliet’s story through the eyes of her hot-headed cousin Tybalt and transports the story to a fictionalised version of 1980s Brooklyn.

The project has been in development since 2018, when it was to star Lakeith Stanfield, but the Knives Out actor has since dropped out of the movie. Lee will rewrite the script with Wimberly and former The Source editor Selwyn Seyfu Hinds, who wrote the original adapted screenplay. Casting details are yet to be announced.

In Prince of Cats, Tybalt and his Capulet brothers battle with their rival Montagues for control of Da People’s Republic of Brooklyn, where underground sword duelling has become a method of settling disputes, among youngsters obsessed with hip-hop, DJing and graffiti.

Lee’s last film, BlacKkKlansman, was nominated for six Academy Awards, and won for Best Adapted Screenplay, the 62-year-old’s first non-honorary Oscar. His follow-up project is Da 5 Bloods, a Vietnam War thriller starring Chadwick Boseman.

Prince of Cats returns Lee to his beloved Brooklyn, the setting of many of his movies, including She’s Gotta Have It, Do the Right Thing, Jungle Fever, Crooklyn, and Clockers.

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Martin Scorsese defends criticism of Marvel movies

Martin Scorsese has elaborated on his criticism of the Marvel movies in an opinion piece for The New York Times.The Irishman director, 76, sparked a huge backlash by calling the movies “not cinema” in an interview with Britain’s Empire magazine.Scorses…

Martin Scorsese has elaborated on his criticism of the Marvel movies in an opinion piece for The New York Times.

The Irishman director, 76, sparked a huge backlash by calling the movies “not cinema” in an interview with Britain’s Empire magazine.

Scorsese addressed the controversy in an article published in The New York Times on Monday, claiming he did not want to attack the artistry of those involved, but stating that they are not to his taste and are crowding other types of films out of cinemas.

“Many franchise films are made by people of considerable talent and artistry,” the movie legend wrote in his op-ed. “You can see it on the screen. The fact that the films themselves don’t interest me is a matter of personal taste and temperament.

“I know that if I were younger, if I’d come of age at a later time, I might have been excited by these pictures and maybe even wanted to make one myself. But I grew up when I did and I developed a sense of movies – of what they were and what they could be – that was as far from the Marvel universe as we on Earth are from Alpha Centauri.”

The director went on to describe his love of Alfred Hitchcock’s films and compared their spectacular set-pieces to current comic book blockbusters.

However, he also stated that modern blockbuster franchises are “market-researched, audience-tested, vetted, modified, revetted and remodified until they’re ready for consumption” – unlike those of auteur directors like Spike Lee, Kathryn Bigelow, or Paul Thomas Anderson.

Defending his decision to criticise Marvel, the famed director explained that even iconic auteurs like himself were struggling to get their films into cinemas – as he’d had to turn to Netflix to make his new gangster epic The Irishman.

“We have a theatrical window, which is great,” he complains. “Would I like the picture to play on more big screens for longer periods of time? Of course I would. But no matter whom you make your movie with, the fact is that the screens in most multiplexes are crowded with franchise pictures.”

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Tyler Perry dedicates new studio soundstage to one-time critic Spike Lee

Tyler Perry has dedicated a soundstage at his new Atlanta, Georgia film complex to former critic Spike Lee after revealing the two moviemakers have patched up their differences.Lee, who once accused Perry of promoting black stereotypes in his Madea mov…

Tyler Perry has dedicated a soundstage at his new Atlanta, Georgia film complex to former critic Spike Lee after revealing the two moviemakers have patched up their differences.

Lee, who once accused Perry of promoting black stereotypes in his Madea movies, has been honoured alongside Whoopi Goldberg, Denzel Washington, and Oprah Winfrey with his own soundstage at the Tyler Perry Film Studios.

But in spite of his rocky history with Lee, Perry has now told TMZ Live that he had to include the director because of what he has done to advance African-American cinema.

“You cannot deny what he has done in the film industry and how he has been at the forefront to help me and everybody else get to the place where we are… I just wanted to honour him for what he has done,” Perry commented, revealing he and Lee once thrashed out their differences during a face-to-face meeting. “He came to my house and we sat down and we had a great conversation… This moment for me and Spike was a huge moment.”

Perry opened his new studio complex over the weekend and welcomed Beyonce, JAY-Z, Winfrey, Goldberg, and Samuel L. Jackson, among others, to the new site, which features the first full-scale replica of the White House.

During a discussion in 2009 with Ed Gordon on Our World with Black Enterprise, the Do the Right Thing director equated Perry’s work to minstrel shows.

Lee argued popularising characters like Madea is a disparaging action that spreads the idea of “buffoonery” in relation to black culture.

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