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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Pam Grier turned down sexual assault roles to avoid revisiting own trauma

Actress Pam Grier has had to turn down projects about sexual assault with “major” filmmakers because she refuses to revisit painful experiences from her own past. The Jackie Brown star previously detailed the traumas she suffered during her youth in h…

Actress Pam Grier has had to turn down projects about sexual assault with “major” filmmakers because she refuses to revisit painful experiences from her own past.

The Jackie Brown star previously detailed the traumas she suffered during her youth in her 2010 memoir, Foxy: My Life In Three Acts, and the incidents have left her very weary about tackling such roles onscreen – because she fears she “might snap”.

“I was sexually attacked and raped at the age of six, and then again at 18 in college, and then there was a third attack that I fought off. I couldn’t believe what was happening. I didn’t understand it,” she tells syndicated columnist Allison Kugel.

“But I know that I cannot portray that in a movie, because I don’t want to revisit those moments and emotions.”

Pam is currently working on her own movie biopic, based on her autobiography, and she is well aware there may be some women who feel the same way.

“A lot of actresses who will be up for the casting to play me in the film of my life, many of them may have had those same experiences and won’t be able to relive them, OK?” she continues. “Not everyone can do that; not everyone wants to revisit that.

“If they can, it will be fantastic, but I know that I have had to turn down roles that have those kinds of attacks, because I couldn’t do it. I had to pass.

“There were major directors and producers through the years, where they didn’t know why I was passing, but I just passed. I knew I might snap. I don’t know if I can go there. Not every actor can play every role, and there is a reason, and it may be private.”

The actress, who turns 70 later this month (May19), has been developing her life story for the big screen for the past few years.

She recently admitted she wanted her Crooklyn filmmaker Spike Lee to direct the project, in which funnyman Jay Pharoah is set to play her former lover, late comic legend Richard Pryor.

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Lucas Till and Lucy Hale cast in civil rights drama Son of the South

Lucas Till and Lucy Hale have bagged lead roles in Spike Lee executive-produced drama Son of the South.The 28-year-old X-Men: Apocalypse actor will star as Bob Zellner in the movie, based on Zellner’s 2008 autobiography The Wrong Side of Murder Creek: …

Lucas Till and Lucy Hale have bagged lead roles in Spike Lee executive-produced drama Son of the South.

The 28-year-old X-Men: Apocalypse actor will star as Bob Zellner in the movie, based on Zellner’s 2008 autobiography The Wrong Side of Murder Creek: A White Southerner in the Freedom Movement, according to Variety.

The movie will tell the story of how Zellner, an Alabama native and grandson of a member of secret society Ku Klux Klan, joined ranks with African-American students fighting for their civil rights in 60s segregated America.

Former Pretty Little Liars star Hale will appear alongside Till as Carol Ann, Zellner’s college girlfriend, in the movie which is currently shooting in Montgomery, Alabama.

Lee, who won the 2019 Academy Award for the BlacKkKlansman adapted screenplay, is executive producing with his longtime editor, Barry Alexander Brown, who received an editing nomination for the 2018 movie – directing from his own screenplay which he wrote almost decade ago.

Brown first crossed paths with Zellner in 1968 when, as a student at Montgomery’s Lanier High School, he contacted Zellner, by then a well-known figure in the civil rights movement, about his high school not being allowed to lower their flag to half-mast following the assassination of Dr. Martin Luther King.

“He had so many stories, and every one of the stories was jaw-dropping, so I knew there was a movie there,” Brown told website Yellowhammernews.com. “I just didn’t know what the movie was. Then it hit me to do it about his transition about being somebody about to graduate from Huntingdon College – sort of a good ol’ boy – and in a matter of a few months, he was in the centre of the civil rights movement.”

Cast members include Lex Scott Davis, Julia Ormond as Virginia Durr, Cedric the Entertainer as Reverend Ralph Abernathy and Sharonne Lanier as Rosa Parks. While Brian Dennehy stars as Zellner’s Ku Klux Klan member grandfather and Chaka Forman will portray the role of his activist father Jim Forman.

Producers on the project are Colin Bates, Eve Pomerance, Bill Black, Stan Erdreich, and River Bend Pictures.

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Spike Lee directs uplifting new Michael B. Jordan Coach clip

Coach has added even more superstar power to its new project after hiring Spike Lee to direct Michael B. Jordan’s latest campaign.Hot on the heels of his first competitive Oscars win, which saw Spike take home the Best Adapted Screenplay award for Bl…

Coach has added even more superstar power to its new project after hiring Spike Lee to direct Michael B. Jordan’s latest campaign.

Hot on the heels of his first competitive Oscars win, which saw Spike take home the Best Adapted Screenplay award for BlacKkKlansman, the celebrated filmmaker has now been unveiled as the director of Coach’s new short film, Words Matter.

“I’m honoured to get to collaborate with giants in their respective fields, Michael B. Jordan and Coach,” Spike said in a statement. “It was truly a magical day working, shooting in the desert. Enjoy.”

Filmed in the desert outside Los Angeles, the short features Michael riding a motorcycle. He comes to a stop to see rocks scattered around with the words hatred, evil, bigotry and lies written on the, but replaces them with others branded with positive words – courage, truth, love and dream.

The Black Panther star was announced as the first-ever global brand ambassador for the company’s menswear collection in September (18).

“Collaborating with the iconic Spike Lee on this short film for Coach was an inspirational experience,” he praised. “Spike’s art has moved the cultural dial for decades. I’m proud of the powerful messaging of this film and to be working alongside a brand that cares about putting that narrative into the world as much as I do.”

Talking about Michael’s appointment at the brand, Coach creative director Stuart Vevers previously revealed that he’d slowly got to know the front row favourite over a number of years before welcoming him into the fold.

“He has been a true supporter of Coach, so it felt like a really natural step to collaborate more closely and create a partnership we can take to the next level,” the designer said.

As well as a soaring film career, Michael has become one of the most exciting names in celebrity fashion. His recent bold outfit choices include a Louis Vuitton harness, a blue velvet tuxedo jacket and a mottled texture Berluti suit.

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Spike Lee tried to leave the Oscars after Green Book won Best Picture – report

Spike Lee was reportedly visibly upset and even tried to leave the Oscars ceremony after Green Book was named Best Picture. According to Variety, the BlacKkKlansman director, 61, was seen waving his arms in disgust, and tried to leave the Dolby Theate…

Spike Lee was reportedly visibly upset and even tried to leave the Oscars ceremony after Green Book was named Best Picture.

According to Variety, the BlacKkKlansman director, 61, was seen waving his arms in disgust, and tried to leave the Dolby Theater when presenter Julia Roberts announced that the controversy-hit film had won.

However, he was stopped at the doors and forced to return to his seat once the speeches had stopped.

The film – based on the true story of celebrated pianist Dr. Don Shirley’s friendship with his driver, Tony Vallelonga – has been extensively criticised for its overly simplistic treatment of racial issues.

Lee, who earlier that evening won his first-ever Academy Award for Best Adapted Screenplay for BlacKkKlansman, explained to reporters backstage that he was disappointed by Green Book’s success, and said “the ref made a bad call”.

“I’m snakebit. Every time someone’s driving somebody, I lose,” he added, in reference to his breakout film Do the Right Thing losing the Oscar for Best Screenplay to Driving Miss Daisy in 1990.

“I thought I was court side at the (Madison Square) Garden and the refs made a bad call,” Lee fired.

He had initially shouted “next question” when asked about his reaction to Green Book’s victory, and quipped, “This is my sixth glass, and you know why,” while holding his champagne flute aloft.

Later, chatting to reporters at the Vanity Fair after-party, Lee said: “Are you British? Let me give you a British answer – it wasn’t my cup of tea.”

According to Variety, Get Out filmmaker and comedian Jordan Peele was among the other stars who didn’t applaud Green Book’s win.

Mahershala Ali scooped the Best Supporting Actor trophy for his portrayal of Dr. Shirley. But Dr. Shirley’s nephew, Edwin Shirley III, and brother, Maurice Shirley, have openly criticised the film and called its portrayal of the musician “a symphony of lies”.

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Spike Lee scribbled down Oscars acceptance speech backstage

Spike Lee hid away in a corner backstage at the 2019 Oscars to scribble down an acceptance speech in case he emerged victorious for his work on BlacKkKlansman. Comedian Trevor Noah, who was one of the guest presenters at Sunday’s (24Feb19) ceremony, t…

Spike Lee hid away in a corner backstage at the 2019 Oscars to scribble down an acceptance speech in case he emerged victorious for his work on BlacKkKlansman.

Comedian Trevor Noah, who was one of the guest presenters at Sunday’s (24Feb19) ceremony, took to Instagram on Monday to share a photo he had captured of the filmmaker sitting on a stool with a pen in his hand and a notepad on his lap.

In the accompanying caption, The Daily Show host explained why he had decided to document the scenario, which took place towards the beginning of the prizegiving, at which BlacKkKlansman was nominated six times.

“While walking around backstage, I noticed a small figure hunched in a corner writing something,” Trevor began. “I got closer and realized it was Spike Lee writing an acceptance speech for his Oscar nominations. I asked him if I could take this picture to remember the moment and he said yes and ‘I hope I get to use this’…”

“Well you got to use the speech @officialspikelee and it was a long time coming!” the TV star continued. “Ladies and gentlemen Oscar Award Winner- Spike Lee #Legend #Oscar #blackklansman”.

Lee was personally shortlisted for Best Picture, Best Director, and Best Adapted Screenplay, and he ended up striking gold for the latter, which marked the 61 year old’s first competitive Academy Award.

Indeed, viewers will remember how Lee pulled out his notes onstage as he picked up the honour, alongside co-writers Charlie Wachtel, David Rabinowitz, and Kevin Willmott, and read from his pre-prepared piece.

Lee had previously received an honorary Oscar at the 2015 Governors Awards.

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