Author Topic: Spike Lee  (Read 44355 times)

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MacGuffin

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Re: Spike Lee
« Reply #180 on: January 17, 2009, 07:45:05 PM »
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Spike Lee's a Sundance kid with `Passing Strange'

PARK CITY, Utah - The timing always was off for Spike Lee and the Sundance Film Festival , which had never managed to land a movie from the maverick who has been at the vanguard of independent cinema for nearly 25 years.

So it's appropriate the film finally bringing Lee to the top indie showcase has its roots in the Sundance Institute 's theater lab, where the Tony Award-winning rock musical "Passing Strange" was developed.

Lee's Sundance premiere came Friday with his dazzling take on "Passing Strange," crafted from the musical's final Broadway performances.

The director behind such films as " Do the Right Thing ," "Malcolm X" and " Inside Man " has debuted films at Cannes, Venice and other festivals, but he and Sundance previously had been out of sync.

"It's because of where the schedule is, where the festival is in the schedule. January never works out for me when I shoot," Lee, 51, said in an interview. "I've never had something that's been available in January."

"Passing Strange" is the semi-autobiographical creation of musician Stew, who developed the project with musical partner Heidi Rodewald and Annie Dorsen, director of the stage play.

With Stew as combination narrator, band leader, stage manager and puppeteer for the characters, the film traces the odyssey of a young black man called Youth (Daniel Breaker), who breaks with his mother's down-home adherence to church and family and seeks to reinvent himself overseas.

He progresses from pot-smoking choir rebel and acid-tripping punk rocker in his home town of Los Angeles to free-spirited bohemian in Amsterdam and finally to cultural icon in Berlin, where he finds musical success by "passing as ghetto," exploiting a south-central L.A. background he never really experienced.

Lee first saw "Passing Strange" when it was playing off-Broadway. He went back to see it again several times on Broadway, where it won Stew the Tony for best book of a musical last year.

"I was knocked out. It was great," Lee said. "I knew nothing about Stew and Heidi. It was just `Hey, there's this show. Check it out.' I was amazed by it."

Approached by one of the play's producers to do a film version, Lee thought about shooting it as a "movie movie," a full cinematic adaptation. He ultimately wound up doing it as a filmed play, keeping the staging and minimalist set design intact.

Lee shot the last three Broadway performances in front of live crowds, then gathered the cast and musicians again the next day to film the entire play again without an audience so he could put the camera on stage for close-ups, dolly shots and other camera coverage.

The film was edited together from all four performances. Along with Stew, Rodewald and Breaker, the cast includes Eisa Davis as Youth's mother and De'Adre Aziza, Colman Domingo, Chad Goodridge and Rebecca Naomi Jones in multiple roles.

Even with a career that includes Academy Award nominations for original screenplay (" Do the Right Thing ") and documentary (" 4 Little Girls "), Lee was like many other Sundance novices, thrilled that he had a chance to meet festival overseer Robert Redford and hoping potential buyers like his film.

"We're like everybody else who's brought a film here at Sundance, trying to get a distribution deal ," Lee said. "So we'll see what happens."

Lee thinks "Passing Strange" could have a long shelf life on the big screen.

"I think it's going to be a cult film. I grew up remembering the midnight shows of ' Rocky Horror ,'" Lee said. "I could definitely see this playing midnight shows for years."
“Don't think about making art, just get it done. Let everyone else decide if it's good or bad, whether they love it or hate it. While they are deciding, make even more art.” - Andy Warhol


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MacGuffin

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Re: Spike Lee
« Reply #181 on: January 26, 2009, 11:56:54 AM »
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EXCLUSIVE: Spike Lee To Use James Brown’s Real Voice — Not Wesley Snipes’ — For Biopic
Source: MTV

James Brown is the lone Godfather of Soul, and even if he looks a lot like Wesley Snipes in Spike Lee’s upcoming biopic, Lee wants to make sure there’s one recognizable voice coming through the microphone when the legendary figure appears on-screen.

“We’re doing it together – it’s going to happen,” Lee told MTV News in an exclusive interview at the Sundance Film Festival this week. The Oscar nominated director of “Do the Right Thing” and “Inside Man” lavished praise on Snipes. “He’s my man,” Lee said; but when it comes to the vocals on Brown’s classic tracks like “I Got You (I Feel Good)” and “Get Up Offa That Thing,” expect to hear the authentic voice of James Brown being dubbed in.

“I want to hear James Brown’s voice,” the director said. “That’s just my personal taste.”

He’s not the first filmmaker to take the dubbing route in a musical biopic. Taylor Hackford dubbed Ray Charles’ original voice over Jamie Foxx in “Ray.”

“I know Joaquin Phoenix in ‘Walk the Line,’ he did some of the singing,” Lee said, breaking down the decision. “I’m a purist,” he explained.

Lee and Paramount grabbed Snipes to play Brown in 2007. The project came together shortly after Brown died in 2006 of congested heart failure. Snipes’ big-screen energy summoning Brown’s near mythological stage presence will obviously carry a hefty punch. You have to feel the demands being place on Snipes, though, just to physically imitate James Brown to the point of syncing with his vocals. That task alone should make “Demolition Man” feel like a jog through through Park City, Utah, by contrast.
“Don't think about making art, just get it done. Let everyone else decide if it's good or bad, whether they love it or hate it. While they are deciding, make even more art.” - Andy Warhol


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MacGuffin

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Re: Spike Lee
« Reply #182 on: February 02, 2009, 05:10:30 PM »
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Spike Lee nabs rights to WWII tale 'Hell'
Nonfiction story will be developed as a feature film
Source: Hollywood Reporter
 
Spike Lee is raising some hell.

The hyphenate's production company 40 Acres and a Mule has acquired rights to Brendan Koerner's "Now the Hell Will Start," a nonfiction tale about a private who went native in the Southeast Asia jungle during World War II, and will develop as a feature.

Penguin Press brought out the book last summer, in which Koerner tracks the story of Private Herman Perry, a black soldier from Washington who, after shooting another soldier, went on the run in the Indo-Burmese jungle and eventually became assimilated into tribal culture.

Lee and 40 Acres recently tackled World War II, directing the African-American-themed tale "Miracle at St. Anna" for Disney; Lee's banner also is working on a Michael Jordan documentary and developing a James Brown biopic.
“Don't think about making art, just get it done. Let everyone else decide if it's good or bad, whether they love it or hate it. While they are deciding, make even more art.” - Andy Warhol


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MacGuffin

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Re: Spike Lee
« Reply #183 on: February 02, 2009, 10:35:33 PM »
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Spike Lee Says Film About LA Riots is Dead…At Least for Now
Source: MTV

Few events in recent history seem a more perfect fit for director Spike Lee than the racially-charged Los Angeles riots in 1992. Universal Pictures and Imagine Entertainment thought so too, agreeing in 2006 to move ahead with a drama about the situation. Then Lee’s ambitious aspirations met budgetary realities.

“We didn’t get the money that we needed to make the movie I wanted to make,” Lee told MTV News in an exclusive interview. “How can you scale back the LA riots?! That’s not the movie I want to make. The studio said, ‘Scale it back.’ What’s the point?”

The riots took place after an all-white jury acquitted four police officers of using excessive force in the videotaped beating of Rodney King, an African-American man pulled over for speeding on an LA highway. Over the course of several violent, chaotic days, 53 people were killed, thousands more were injured and the city sustained at least $1 billion in damage.

At the time the riots began, Lee was screening his Malcolm X biopic for Warner Bros. execs. And a few years earlier, the director tackled racial tension and the potential violence of crowds: the climax of perhaps his most acclaimed film, 1989’s “Do the Right Thing,” occurs during a racially tinged riot on a street in the Bedford-Stuyvesant neighborhood of Brooklyn.

Back in 2006 and fresh off the critical success of HBO’s “When the Levees Broke,” a documentary about the repercussions of Hurricane Katrina, Lee discussed the planned drama, to be called “LA Riots,” with Variety. “This isn’t about some cavalcade of stars,” Lee stated, “but rather a truthful and realistic examination of what happened, what the ramifications were and where we are now, in hopes that something like this doesn’t happen again.”

What does the failure to secure the proper budget mean for the future of “LA Riots”? “It’s not dead,” Lee says. “But it’s…it’s on the shelf. Let’s use that term. It still should be made—I want to make it.”
“Don't think about making art, just get it done. Let everyone else decide if it's good or bad, whether they love it or hate it. While they are deciding, make even more art.” - Andy Warhol


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Pwaybloe

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Re: Spike Lee
« Reply #184 on: February 03, 2009, 10:23:19 AM »
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That's disappointing.  Lee is perfect for this.  I think he'll successfully avoid the subplots and stick to the linear facts.  I'm really afraid that another director will be slotted for this since it's been shelved. 

I know Lee is a fan of "The Battle of Algiers", so I wonder if he would approach it that way.  Careful editing and frequent logistical information will need to be displayed to the audience.  I'm already picturing this movie in my head. 

children with angels

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Re: Spike Lee
« Reply #185 on: February 03, 2009, 10:32:14 AM »
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"Should I bring my own chains?"
"We always do..."

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pete

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Re: Spike Lee
« Reply #186 on: February 03, 2009, 11:59:06 AM »
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I think the studio heads confused him for oliver stone.  spike's way too intelligent to do a tacky LA riots film.  But I think his last two studio pandering efforts - one of which paid off the other flopped - really hadn't put him in anyone's grace, which sucks.  He's one of this country's last hopes. 
“Tragedy is a close-up; comedy, a long shot.”
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MacGuffin

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Re: Spike Lee
« Reply #187 on: March 17, 2009, 10:44:54 PM »
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Spike Lee's 'Kobe' to debut in N.Y.
ESPN, Tribeca fests partner on NBA telepic
Source: Variety
 
NEW YORK -- Spike Lee's "Kobe Doin' Work," a telepic capturing a day in the life of NBA star Kobe Bryant, will preem during the Tribeca Film Festival before its May debut on ESPN.

The April 25 bow is part of the ESPN Sports Film Festival, a co-venture with Tribeca. Eight sports-themed pics will screen between April 22 and May 3.

Lee, a famously visible and vocal fan of the New York Knicks, and his d.p. Matthew Libatique spent time with the Los Angeles Lakers' Bryant last spring before, during and after a playoff game against the San Antonio Spurs.

"Kobe Doin' Work" will bow May 16 on ESPN.
“Don't think about making art, just get it done. Let everyone else decide if it's good or bad, whether they love it or hate it. While they are deciding, make even more art.” - Andy Warhol


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Re: Spike Lee
« Reply #188 on: May 01, 2009, 08:40:28 AM »
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PBS picks up Spike Lee's 'Strange'
Film acquired at Tribeca fest will air in 2010
Source: Variety

PBS' "Great Performances" has acquired Spike Lee's film adaptation of the rock musical "Passing Strange" out of the Tribeca fest and announced plans to air the project in 2010.

"Passing Strange" is the story of a young black man who leaves behind his middle-class upbringing in mid-1970s Los Angeles to travel to Europe, where he finds he can exploit his "South Central" persona. The play received seven Tony noms and won for book of a musical.

The producers of "Passing Strange" said they're exploring a limited theatrical release for the film in the late summer or early fall.
“Don't think about making art, just get it done. Let everyone else decide if it's good or bad, whether they love it or hate it. While they are deciding, make even more art.” - Andy Warhol


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Re: Spike Lee
« Reply #189 on: September 16, 2009, 11:43:38 PM »
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Spike Lee, Robert De Niro develop drama series
John Ridley to pen 'Alphaville' for Showtime
Source: Hollywood Reporter
 
Quintessential New York filmmakers Spike Lee and Robert De Niro have teamed  with Showtime to develop a drama series about Manhattan's Alphabet City.

The project, titled "Alphaville," will be written by John Ridley, with Lee on board to direct the potential pilot.

It is executive produced by Ridley, Lee, De Niro and his producing partner Jane Rosenthal, whose Tribeca Prods. is on board to produce.

"Alphaville" is an ensemble drama chronicling Alphabet City's gritty and tumultuous past before it became the gentrified East Village.

Set during the 1980s, it will re-create the neighborhood's eclectic mix of struggling artists and musicians living alongside Puerto Rican and black families.

Along with its growing bohemian and celebrity population that also included graffiti artists, break-dancers, rappers and DJs, the neighborhood was plagued by illegal drug activity and violent crime.

Local tensions culminated in the Tompkins Square Park riot of 1988, in which police clashed with anarchists and homeless activists.

The 1980s Alphabet City was the setting for the musical "Rent." The neighborhood also served as the backdrop for two De Niro pictures: 1976's "Taxi Driver" and 1999's "Flawless."

Following the successful launches of its two new series, "United States of Tara" and "Nurse Jackie," Showtime is shifting its attention to development.

The pay cable network recently greenlighted "The C Word," a dark comedy pilot starring Laura Linney.
“Don't think about making art, just get it done. Let everyone else decide if it's good or bad, whether they love it or hate it. While they are deciding, make even more art.” - Andy Warhol


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©brad

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Re: Spike Lee
« Reply #190 on: September 23, 2009, 03:59:36 PM »
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Well they won't be able to out-Wire The Wire, but similar premise aside, color me intrigued.

The pay cable network recently greenlighted "The C Word," a dark comedy pilot starring Laura Linney.

Because The L Word was such a hit?...

john

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Re: Spike Lee
« Reply #191 on: September 23, 2009, 04:25:56 PM »
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Last time Lee attempted a TV show, it was the Sucker Free City pilot. The amount of ambition and vitality in that show should indicate good things for this show. It seems similar enough to give me hope that will see some of the thoughts and themes of that show coming to fruition here. Hopefully it lasts longer than the pilot eisode this time.
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OrHowILearnedTo

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Re: Spike Lee
« Reply #192 on: September 23, 2009, 05:44:00 PM »
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How much ambition does John Ridley have though? His track record doesn't exactly inspire confidence.

children with angels

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Re: Spike Lee
« Reply #193 on: September 23, 2009, 06:15:31 PM »
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This sounds very exciting indeed. I've been meaning to see Sucker Free City for ages - I need to get on that. But this has serious potential.

On another note: I saw Spike give an interview at the National Film Theatre on Monday (they're doing an entire season based around Do The Right Thing). The (immature) highlight for me was when he called Joe "You Lie!" Wilson a "redneck cracker".
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john

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Re: Spike Lee
« Reply #194 on: September 23, 2009, 07:17:54 PM »
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How much ambition does John Ridley have though? His track record doesn't exactly inspire confidence.

No, it doesn't. But Ridley is responsible for the screenplay to Oliver Stone's under appreciated U-Turn and the novel it was based on. Perhaps all it takes is working with a competent director.

David Benioff's filmography is relatively unimpressive (and, in some cases, abysmal) but he's still responsible for the screenplay for 25th Hour and the novel it was based on.

It isn't too much of a stretch to think Lee can illicit the same potential from Ridley that he did from Benioff.
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