After BlacKkKlansman became both a box-office and critical success, even going so far to having a strong presence at the Oscars, you’d just assume Spike Lee would have no trouble getting his next film made. Guess again.
In a new interview with The Hollywood Reporter, Lee opens up about his struggles finding a home for his latest movie, Da 5 Bloods. Pitched as Lee’s take on his favorite films The Treasure of the Sierra Madre (“We flipped it,” Lee says. “Put our flavor on it, some barbecue sauce, some funk, some Marvin Gaye. And there you have it”), the story about five Vietnam vets searching for their squad leader’s remains was turned down by every studio. Fortunately — or unfortunately, depending on how you look at it — Lee is used to rejection, and he kept moving down the line before finding a willing partner in Netflix.
“We barely got this film made,” Lee says. “We had gone to every studio, and they all turned it down. I’ve had many, many projects turned down, and in my history, they don’t say they hate it, they just say, ‘No, it’s just not for us.’ I’m in this game a long time. So when someone doesn’t want to do it, I’m not going to say, ‘But why? Why don’t you want to make this film?’ I just say, ‘Thank you.’ And keep stepping. Like Jay-Z. On to the next one. And that is why I’ve been able to amass a body of work. I’m not going to sit around and cry. Keep it moving.” Though Lee is frank, “There was nowhere to go after Netflix.”
Part of the Netflix deal included a theatrical release, which has naturally been scuttled due to the pandemic, and Lee is definitely not pushing for to release Da 5 Bloods in cinemas any time soon. “I hope only when it’s safe. There are theaters open now, but I would not go see a movie now. But I do hope that somewhere down the line, people could see this film on a big screen.”
Da 5 Bloods premieres June 12 on Netflix.
(Via The Hollywood Reporter)