*”I haven’t made a feature film in three years,” said Spike Lee.
Lee has lately focused on documentary work with two films about post-Katrina New Orleans for HBO. But he had designs on biopics about Jackie Robinson – the Brooklyn Dodgers slugger who broke baseball’s color line – and soul icon James Brown. And he was in discussions a while back for a sequel to thriller “Inside Man”, which starred Denzel Washington, Clive Owen and Jodie Foster. But he’s been unable to secure financing.
“‘Inside Man’ was my most successful film,” he said, adding that he had Washington and Foster on board for the sequel. “But we can’t get the sequel made. And one thing Hollywood does well is sequels. The film’s not getting made. We tried many times. It’s not going to happen.”
Lee’s comments came during a free-wheeling Q&A session with public television’s Charlie Rose at PromaxBDA, the annual marketing, branding and design conference here. Lee received the organization’s lifetime achievement award for his work in film and television, including a series of groundbreaking commercials for Nike that featured Michael Jordan and Lee as Mars Blackmon, the character he played in his 1986 breakthrough film “She’s Gotta Have It.”
Lee – whose cinematic heroes include Akira Kurosawa, Billy Wilder, Elia Kazan, Federico Fellini and Martin Scorsese – has never won an Academy Award. But he likened Academy voters to basketball referees who attempt to make amends for a bad call with what is known in the sports world as a subsequent “make-up call.”
“In 1989, Do the ‘Right Thing’ was not even nominated [for best picture],” said Lee, with some mock outrage. “What film won best picture in 1989? ‘Driving Miss Mother F—ing Daisy!’ That’s why [Oscars] don’t matter,” said Lee. “Because 20 years later, who’s watching ‘Driving Miss Daisy?'”
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