Entries in Spike Lee (7)


Spike Lee on "Django Unchained": 'It's Disrespectful to My Ancestors'

Bruce Glikas/FilmMagic(NEW YORK) -- Spike Lee probably didn't spend part of his Christmas Day watching Django Unchained.  The filmmaker, who often tackles race in America in his movies, says that the Quentin Tarantino film, which stars Jamie Foxx as a slave-turned-bounty hunter who attempts to save his wife from a plantation owner, is offensive.

"I'm not gonna see it," Lee told Vibe Magazine, when asked about the movie.  "All I'm going to say is that it's disrespectful to my ancestors.  That's just me....I'm not speaking on behalf of anybody else."

Lee also took to Twitter to voice his frustration with the film, saying, "American Slavery Was Not A Sergio Leone Spaghetti Western. It Was A Holocaust. My Ancestors Are Slaves. Stolen From Africa. I Will Honor Them."

The film, which Tarantino has described as a Western, is set in Texas in the mid-1800s.  It has made headlines for its use of the "N" word -- which characters say more than 100 times -- and graphic scenes.

Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio


"Michael Jackson: Bad25" Premieres on ABC Thanksgiving Night

Kevin Mazur/WireImage(NEW YORK) -- Michael Jackson: Bad25, a documentary about the making of Michael Jackson's landmark 1987 album Bad, airs on ABC Thanksgiving night. 

The in-depth film was directed by Spike Lee, who traces the King of Pop's creative process as he followed up from the success of his 1982 album Thriller.

Lee first worked with Jackson more than a decade and a half ago, directing the 1996 music video "They Don't Really Care About Us." 

"When I got that phone call and he was on the other line I hung up because I thought it was an impersonator," Lee tells ABC News Radio.  "It was really a big moment in my life when Michael Jackson called me on my phone to do a music video."

Jackson asked Lee to come to California to hear his song, but the new dad had just welcomed his first child home, and couldn't make the trip.  That didn't stop Jackson, though. 

"He came to Fort Greene, Brooklyn, to my house, my brownstone, to play the songs," Lee says.

Jackson had a passion for his craft, and Michael Jackson: Bad25 shines a light on that passion.  In one scene, viewers will see footage of Jackson in November 1986, working on the choreography for the Martin Scorsese-directed "Bad" music video in his hotel room with choreographers Caszper Canidate and Jeffrey Daniel.  

In the clip, Daniel talks about how the three of them developed the iconic dance sequence in the "Bad" video.  He says that he and Canidate would work with Jackson's dancers in the daytime, then the trio would meet back at the hotel, and work together until the wee hours of the morning.

"We'd take turns creating different things, making different things happen," Daniel says.  Each of the guys would get their turn, "but it wasn't like a dance-off," he says.  Instead, the three of them were "inspiring each other and pushing each other to the next limit."

Daniel is one of several people who share their behind-the-scenes stories from the making of Michael's Bad album.  Siedah Garrett is another contributor who appears in Michael Jackson: Bad25.  The singer and songwriter helped pen the duet "I Just Can't Stop Loving You."

In an interview with ABC News Radio, she recalls joining Jackson in the studio to record her part on the track, and remembers that he admired her work on the song.

"So, Michael follows me into the booth and he starts filming me and I remember asking him, 'Why are you doing this?'" Garrett tells ABC News Radio.  "He said, 'Because you have so much emotion and I just love the way you sing it and I wanna sing it like you.'"

Bad was the first album on which nearly all of the songs were written by Jackson.  He co-wrote nine of the album's 11 tracks, and was listed as a co-producer for the entire project. 

"He might not be able to play the guitar riff in 'Beat It,' or 'Billie Jean,' but he can sing it to the guitar player and he'll get the feel that we wants," Garrett recalls.  "He had a human beatbox in his body that was ridiculous."

She says that Jackson was always looking to improve. 

"Like athletes, they love to watch themselves on tape and then better their game.  He was just like that.  He wanted to better himself at every turn," she says.

In addition to interviews with Jackson's collaborators, Lee also did one-on-one interviews with the King of Pop's famous fans.  The list includes Mariah Carey, Cee Lo Green and Kanye West, among others.

Michael Jackson: Bad25 airs on ABC Thursday night at 9:30 p.m. Eastern time.

Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio


Spike Lee's "Red Hook Summer" Will Throw You for a Loop

David Lee, courtesy 40 Acres and a Mule Filmworks(NEW YORK) -- It's the latest film in Spike Lee's Chronicles of Brooklyn Series, which includes films such as She's Gotta Have It, Do The Right Thing, Crooklyn and He Got GameRed Hook Summer, opening in limited release Friday, centers on Flik Royale, a 13-year-old boy from Atlanta who moves in with his preaching grandad for a summer in Brooklyn.

The film was shot in just 18 days.  It's a feat that writer, director and producer Lee says he's mastered after making films since 1985.

"You gotta know what the hell you're doing," the 55-year-old director told ABC News Radio while sitting inside his Brooklyn-based studio, 40 Acres and a Mule.  "Eighteen days; there's no lollygagging', no shenanigans, no tomfoolery, nothing.  You gotta get it done."

And Lee does get it done while revealing the secrets of a housing project in Red Hook, Brooklyn, just a few avenues over from where he grew up in Cobble Hill.  In a nod back to the cinematic feel of Do The Right Thing, Red Hook Summer is a gritty narrative, centered around a church, Lil’ Peace of Heaven Baptist Church, where Flik gets to know his grandfather, Bishop Enoch Rouse, whom he has never met before.  And while struggling to navigate the streets of Brooklyn, far different from his time in the suburbs of Atlanta, he's constantly shocked into the realities of urban city life.

One neighborhood reality is Mookie, Lee's character, who first appeared in Do the Right Thing, who is still delivering pizzas.  A scene sure to inspire the nostalgia of the theatrical feature that first gained him acclaim, Lee said he can't retire the character, because frankly, "Sal don't pay that much."  And another signature character from Lee's repertoire, Nola Darling from She's Gotta Have It, appears as Mother Darling, a Jehovah's Witness whose son passed from HIV.  It's a far shift from the Darling Lee fans used to know who courted three boyfriends at a time without shame.

Still, it's a mid-film plot twist (that if described would totally ruin the film for you) that is sure to shock moviegoers just in case they thought Red Hook Summer was only about Brooklyn's struggle with gentrification, a repeated theme, or a young boy's coming-of-age story.

"What throws people for a loop is that a lot of times people are so pre-conditioned to the Hollywood formula for films," Lee explained to ABC News Radio.  "It's not a good thing when the audience is two steps ahead of the filmmaker."

Lee's Red Hook Summer hits theaters in New York Friday and opens wider on Aug. 24.

Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio


Spike Lee to Direct Mike Tyson in Broadway One-Man Show

ABC News(NEW YORK) -- Mike Tyson is heading to Broadway.  The former Heavyweight champ and controversial personality is doing a limited engagement one-man show about his life, called "Mike Tyson: The Undisputed Truth."

At a press conference Monday announcing the show, Tyson described "The Undisputed Truth" as the raw tale of his life.

"It's about me being on stage and being pretty raw.  Not necessarily raw in a vulgar sense … I'm just naked and vulnerable, and I'm just telling you who I am and where I'm from and how this happened and how I lose all this damn money and how I had all these children and how I go to prison and, you know, you know what happened guys, right?" he said.

Spike Lee makes his Broadway directorial debut with "The Undisputed Truth."  At Monday's press conference, Lee discussed how brave he thinks Tyson is for doing the show.

"It takes courage to get into the ring, but it takes courage to get onto the stage," Lee said. "Denzel's not playing Mike, it's not Sam Jackson. It's Mike Tyson, in person, on stage. That takes a lot of courage."

Though Tyson and Lee promise the show will be honest and Tyson will be vulnerable, the two appeared to have a slight disagreement at Monday's press conference over just how far Tyson is willing to go.

"I have to be careful because I can't stay on some subjects for a long time.  I can't stay … for a long time because I might cry, something might happen," said Tyson.

"But crying's alright, though," Lee said.

"Sometimes maybe -- maybe not," Tyson responded, adding, "It depends on who's crying."

"We can go there, Mike, It's OK. It's the stage," Lee said.

"Right," Tyson finally resigned.

So what will audiences learn when they see the show?

"They'll find out that my mother is a prostitute, my father's a pimp and I come from a real, um, this -- I don't know what -- the sex worker world and stuff, you know.  That's why I look at the world from a different perspective than most people when I was a young kid," Tyson said.

The former boxer said the show is part of his effort to move his life in a positive direction.

"This is just me and my wife wanted to do -- this is what we decided to do after I gave up using drugs and being a pig and stuff, right, so this is what we decided we were going to [live] on this kind of level.  Just keep it moving and doing positive things," he said.

The show will run six times between July 31 and Aug. 5.

Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio


Spike Lee Apologizes for Tweeting Couple‚Äôs Address

Bruce Glikas/FilmMagic(NEW YORK) -- Spike Lee apologized to an elderly Florida couple after he tweeted their address and said it belonged to George Zimmerman, the man who shot Trayvon Martin on Feb. 26.

“I Deeply Apologize To The McClain Family For Retweeting Their Address. It Was A Mistake. Please Leave The McClain’s In Peace. Justice In Court,” Lee tweeted to his 250,000 followers.

David McClain, 72, and his wife Elaine McClain, 70, have been living in a motel since Lee tweeted their address. They said they’re thankful Lee apologized on Twitter, but they’re not yet comfortable returning home.

“How do you know the ones who are extremists have seen it? Maybe they haven’t looked again on Twitter,” Elaine McClain said.

The Florida woman said she doesn’t know when, if ever, she and her husband will be ready to return home.

“There’s a bounty out. To be there at nighttime at all, we’d be afraid to walk past the window,” she said. “I don’t even like to go back for five minutes. We grab our clothes and get out of there.”

The New Black Panther Party is offering a $10,000 bounty for capture of Zimmerman.

McClain said her son’s middle name is George and his last name is Zimmerman, but he hadn’t lived at the residence since 1995.

The tweet originated from an account with the twitter handle @MACCAPONE, The Smoking Gun reported.  The account, which is the handle for a Los Angeles man named Marcus Higgins, tweeted the address at various celebrities. Lee was the only one to retweet it.

Elaine McClain said the fiasco has taken a toll on her health.

“My blood pressure is just hurting my heart,” she said. “To live in a motel room 15 by 15, it’s not the way you want to live your life."

Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio


Spike Lee Retweets Incorrect Address of Trayvon Martin Shooter

Bruce Glikas/FilmMagic(ORLANDO, Fla.) -- An elderly Florida couple has been caught in the crosshairs of the Trayvon Martin shooting case due to an inaccurate retweet by Spike Lee and others.

The director retweeted an address said to belong to George Zimmerman, the man who shot Trayvon Martin dead on Feb. 26, to his 250,000 followers, according to website  But the address was incorrect and has caused the couple to go into hiding.

David McClain, 72, and his wife Elaine McClain, 70, are now living in a hotel and said they are concerned for their safety.

“We’re afraid for our lives,” Elaine McClain told WKMG-TV in Orlando.

McClain said her son’s middle name is George and his last name is Zimmerman, but he hadn’t lived at the residence since 1995.

Elaine McClain has heart problems, and when contacted by ABC News, said she was not doing well and was heading out to a doctor’s appointment. McClain said she and her husband parked around the corner from their home and were briefly stopping by to grab clothes and other necessities.

The tweet originated from an account with the Twitter handle @MACCAPONE, The Smoking Gun reported.  The account, which is the handle for a Los Angeles man named Marcus Higgins, tweeted the address at various celebrities. Lee was the only one to retweet it.

The director was active on Twitter Wednesday, retweeting negative messages he has received since sharing the McClains’ address.

Elaine McClain said Lee owes her and her husband a “big apology."

Late Wednesday, Lee apologized via Twitter: "I Deeply Apologize To The McClain Family For Retweeting Their Address. It Was A Mistake. Please Leave The McClain's In Peace."

Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio


Spike Lee, Chris Rock Spar at Sundance

Bruce Glikas/FilmMagi(PARK CITY, Utah) -- You can’t really blame them. If you were at the adult equivalent of ski camp, with open bars, 4 a.m. parties and swag suites galore, would you be on your best behavior? Probably not. James Mardsen yelled at security at the Salt Lake City airport. Paris Hilton lost her phone at a party.

And then there was Spike Lee and Chris Rock. Rock stood up at the Sundance Film Festival’s Sunday premiere of Lee’s Red Hook Summer and asked what the polarizing director would have done if he had studio money to make the film about a pedophile priest. Lee financed it with $1 million of his own money -- Rock wanted to know if Lee would have “blown up the church” and made a more outrageous pic if he had $20 million or so to spend. Lee’s response: "Thank you, Chris.” And then he moved on.

Lee talked about the brewing feud Monday on ABC News Now’s Popcorn with Peter Travers. “They don’t want to make this stuff,” he said in reference to major motion picture studios, “which is why you come to Sundance. I made the correct decision to not ever mess with the studio. I made it with my money the way I want to make it.”

He also took a hit at Red Tails director George Lucas, whose film about the Tuskegee Airmen, the all-black World War II fighter squad, scored $20 million over the weekend.

“It’s a shame, there are few and far between films that are made for people of color,” he said. “It’s better when George Lucas says it for Red Tails but I’ve been saying it for years. I don’t care who says it.”

When asked to name the whitest film he’d ever seen, Lee declined, saying he didn’t “want to make anymore headlines.”

Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio

ABC News Radio