Speaking at this year’s Chicago International Movies & Music Festival (aka CIMMfest) on Saturday (April 18), the filmmaker referenced criticism over his first film “She’s Gotta Have It” while stating he is no stranger to causing an uproar with what he’s done over the years.
Lee has attracted negative feedback from Chicago residents who are opposed to the title of “Chiraq,” which is set in the city and focuses on the violence currently plaguing it. The outcry has even reached the city’s mayor Rahm Emanuel, who admitted to meeting with Lee to discuss changing the title.
Despite all the drama, Lee stated that nothing that will keep him from continuing work on “Chiraq,” according to the Chicago Tribune.
“All this stuff that’s happening today in Chicago … criticism… it started with the first film, ‘She’s Gotta Have It.’ So this is nothing new,” he said at an event titled “An Evening of Music, Film & Wine with Spike Lee” at City Winery in Chicago.
“We’re not talking about the future. I’m gonna curse here: I’m not talking about s— before it happens. So many people say, ‘I’m gonna do this, I’m gonna do that.’ Mother——, you don’t know s—, because you don’t know what you’re talking about. I’m not saying anything until it happens.”
Prior to touching on “Chiraq,” the Chicago Defender reports that Lee addressed his previous films, particularly how he wasn’t comfortable making films until his third film, “Do the Right Thing.”
“First two films, ‘She’s Gotta Have it,’ and ‘School Daze,’ I did not know what the f*ck I was doing,” Lee confessed. “It wasn’t until ‘Do the Right Thing’ that I was confident as a film director. When you come out of film school you are afraid of actors. You don’t know the verbiage, so you just hide behind the camera and let the actors do what they want. So it took my third film; and that’s when I became confident.”
Denzel Washington’s name came up more than once for Lee, who weighed in on why the actor didn’t win an Oscar for his work in “Malcolm X.” In his eyes, Washington’s Best Actor loss to Al Pacino was due to what he called a “make-up call” from the Academy.
“Denzel that year lost to the great, Bronx-born actor, Al Pacino. Al was nominated but did not win for ‘Godfather I,’ ‘Godfather II,’ ‘Serpico,’ ‘Dog Day Afternoon,’ ‘Scarface.” He didn’t win. Makeup call: Denzel was young, he won an Oscar already for ‘Glory,’ Best Supporting Actor, beat out Danny Aiello for ‘Do the Right Thing,’ so they f*cked over Al Pacino. He had 65 roles, five times he didn’t win; he didn’t win one. ‘Scent of a Woman,’ you’ve gotta give it to him! Denzel wins for ‘Training Day:’ Makeup call. You’re not going to get it back, but you know why you got it; because they [the Academy] wants to correct something they feel that was done wrong in the past,” said Lee, who expressed that he would love to work with Washington again.
“Denzel and me worked together 4 times, ‘Mo’ Better Blues,’ ‘Malcolm X,’ ‘He Got Game,’ ‘Inside Man,’ so hopefully one day we’ll have our fifth film together. I don’t know what it is, but hopefully.”
To see Mayor Rahm Emmanuel trying to persuade Lee to not call Chicago “Chiraq,” check out the video below: