Create Profile

Creating your profile will enable you to submit photos and stories to get published on News24.

Please provide a username for your profile page:

This username must be unique, cannot be edited and will be used in the URL to your profile page across the entire 24.com network.

Facebook Sign-In

Hi News addict,

Join the News24 Community to be involved in breaking the news.

Log in with Facebook to comment and personalise news, weather and listings.


Spike Lee talks about his career and upcoming Oscar award

12 November 2015, 07:49

Beverly Hills — Spike Lee gets so excited when talking about movies, he can barely sit down. Reflecting on his career as he prepares to accept an honourary Oscar, the 58-year-old suddenly stands up and bounds around as he considers various ideas, at times bellowing so exuberantly, it echoes.
Lee laughs as easily as he gets serious, and says he's profoundly touched by the film academy honour he'll receive Saturday at the seventh annual Governors Awards.

"Stick around long enough, you'll get some grace," Lee says, eyes smiling behind blue-framed glasses.

Lee sat down (and sometimes stood) with The Associated Press to answer six questions about his career.

What was your most challenging film to make?

She's Gotta Have It and Malcolm X. She's Gotta Have it was my first feature and I had to raise the money myself. We shot it in 12 days. And Malcolm X was an epic, and we never had the money from the beginning to shoot it, so that's why we had to ask prominent African-Americans to help us finish the film.

What skill has proven most valuable to you in this industry?

You have to have thick skin. Because even this new film, Chi-Raq, we went to Sundance with the script, and everybody else said no but Amazon. And it only takes one yes. This is a tough (expletive) business, and people need to understand that. I tell that to my students, more than once, in class at NYU. You've got to have heart, and you've got to have drive. And when you get knocked down, you've got to pick yourself up — put your hands up on the ropes and pull yourself to your feet. Because... if you can't take a hit, you're not going to last long, that's for sure.

What changes in the industry have been most surprising to you?

I'm still surprised that Hollywood and networks have not been diverse as other industries. You look at sports; look at what African Americans have done in sports — not just on the field but in owning teams, in the front office. And I don't want to give away some of my speech, but it's great to have African Americans who are Oprahs an Denzels and Sam and Will, but we need to have gatekeepers. I want one studio, one TV network, cable — who is the person of color that has the green-light vote? That's what I want to know. (He later noted that a black woman, Vanessa Morrison, runs Fox Animation Studios and clarified he's talking about live action.)

What is the movie experience you'd most like to forget or have done differently?

My worst experience ever, and I've been making films since 1986, was Oldboy. That is not the film — the film Josh Brolin and I made? That didn't make it to the theaters. And that's the first time I've said this publicly. It was not a good experience.

What was your most exciting Hollywood experience?

I don't know if I could just say one. It's going to be exciting 14 November (at the Governors Awards). It was exciting back in '82 when I won the Student Academy Award for my thesis film. ... But I mean, think of all the people I've worked with: Five times with Denzel, a lot with Samuel L. Jackson, Wesley Snipes, Jada Pinkett. Jungle Fever was Halle Berry's first film. Anthony Quinn in Jungle Fever. Ben Gazzara in Summer of Sam. Jim Brown in He Got Game. There's a lot of great people I worked with. Nelson Mandela in Malcolm X. Angela Bassett. John Turturro — he's acted in my films more than anybody. Working with Prince on Girl 6. Working with Stevie Wonder, who did the songs on Jungle Fever. So I worked with great, great, great talent...

You've been very outspoken throughout your career and gotten into some public verbal exchanges with your peers. Have any of them ever resulted in friendships afterward?

Of the things that have been public, me and Tyler Perry are cool now. We talked it out. I flew down to Atlanta ... we sat down, so me and Tyler Perry are mad cool. It happened two or three years ago. We have no beef.

(Photos: AP)

- AP


Read more from our Users

Nigeria @ 56: Words to my green f...

A leader’s job is not to dictate, but rather to be respected, admired and be a trustee, of the land we love, with so much potential, a land which should be freer than free. Its still a long way to fufilling our destiny! Read more...

Submitted by
Isaac Asabor263
Recession: An opportunity for Nig...

The recession should be seen as an opportunity for the country’s promotion as long as we all collectively conduct ourselves in a patriotic manner, writes Isaac Asabor.  Read more...

Submitted by
Black and White

We want to imitate the whites in everything because we are ignorant of our inherent originality and content. We spend all our Naira to acquire his inventions because we so oblivious of our natural endowments that we allow him have it for free. Read more...

Submitted by
Nate Nat
Adamawa State University Mubi: A ...

ADSU integrity forum has accused the Sunday Joshua Wugira, a lawyer, of adopting unorthodox tactics by abusing his privilege by attacking the integrity of ADSU Vice Chancellor Dr. Moses Zira Zaruwa, writes a News24 reader. Read more...

Submitted by
Abdulsalam Jubril
My Country Nigeria (Part One)

Poetry by Abdulsalam Jubril.

Submitted by
Abdulsalam Jubril
Recession, dearth in leadership a...

Every leader has the opportunity to become great and making himself immortal in the lives and hearts of people for generations to come. Will Mr. President seize this opportunity?, questions Abdulsalam Jubril. Read more...