Spike Lee apparently doesn’t leave the best taste in Hollywood’s mouth.
It’s not that he doesn’t make some dynamic, worth-talking-about films. It’s more like he’s not someone they particularly want to work with … at least that’s the impression producer Brian Grazer gives.
Spike was on the list to direct the James Brown biopic, but Grazer changed his mind after analyzing a few things.
In an interview with Rolling Stone, he revealed why he went with a different, white, director.
RS: What happened with Spike Lee, who was said to be directing the original movie project before Brown’s death?
BG: He was the choice when I had the rights. I had just produced Inside Man with him. When the rights left me, I didn’t have any control, and I couldn’t make director choices. So when it came later with new people and new rights holders, we weren’t doing it with Spike Lee anymore. The world was different then. Now you have to make movies for less money.
RS: When it was announced that Lee was no longer involved and that a white director, Tate Taylor, was on board, the blogosphere went nuts. How do you respond to those comments?
BG: What would I say? I view that a bunch of different ways. Mick and I don’t see the world that way. I started my career making Boomerang and CB4. I’ve made so many movies where I’ve supported black artists. Tate made The Help, and that had almost an entirely black population. I just want to try to make the best movie.
RS: Were you surprised by those reactions?
BG: Well, I didn’t read them! I can’t make movies like that, where I’m going to look at some blog and change the course of the whole movie. I also think Mick is so amazing. For him to decide he’s going to participate and split half the money – he’s a man of integrity, and I feel pretty good about that.
Whether or not this means Spike demands a higher fee or production companies are not willing to take the same kind of financial risk with Spike as they are with, say a guy like Taylor, is still questionable.