Tuesday, December 01, 2015

My Interview With Spike Lee

Just a few days after Spike Lee won his honorary Oscar, I sat down with the director to talk about his new film, Chi-Raq, for Screen International. Sadly, the piece is behind the site's paywall. But, as an added bonus for readers of my site, here's an excerpt that didn't make the final story. I asked Spike about his place in the industry. This is the lightly edited transcript of that discussion...

Is there any sort of place for you in terms of studios or any conversations still going on?  

You don’t seem sad about that.
Hey, by hook or crook, been doing it since 1986, sir. 

You've talked about other independent directors, like John Sayles, being inspirations to you. Did you imagine you’d always be an independent filmmaker?  
I always felt that I would have one foot in independent cinema, and one foot within a [studio] system. And depending [on] the film, it’d be my left foot or my right foot. [Laughs] You know, it would depend upon if it’s my left in a Jordan or my right in a Jordan.

During our chat, by the way, he was wearing a nice pair of new Air Jordans. 

I told him that, as a fan, I found it depressing to think that there's no place for him in the major studios in 2015 -- that a movie like Chi-Raq only has a shot with a newcomer like Amazon. He looked at me and replied, "I don't find that [depressing]. Not to negate your statement, but I find it refreshing. Because it’s gonna be places like Amazon and Netflix, and other places like that, that are gonna take the chances that the big Hollywood studios don’t want to take."

For those who have a subscription to Screen International, you can read the published piece here.