The A-List: An interview with
Chi-Raq director Spike Lee
By Iain Blair
Since Spike Lee first burst onto the scene back in 1986 with She’s Gotta Have It, he’s made over 60 films, documentaries, TV series and shorts, and tackled such timeless — and timely — subjects as racial tension, college fraternities, Malcolm X, the Son of Sam murder spree, jazz, blues and Hurricane Katrina.
Now Lee takes on guns and gangs in his upcoming new film Chi-Raq, an impassioned rap reworking of Aristophanes’ Lysistrata, set against a backdrop of Chicago gang violence. Shot by Matty Libatique, who recently shot the equally gritty Straight Outta Compton, it features a large ensemble cast, including such regular Lee players as Samuel L. Jackson, Wesley Snipes and Angela Bassett, alongside newcomers to the Lee team Teyonah Parris, Nick Cannon, John Cusack, Dave Chappelle and Jennifer Hudson. The film showcases the director’s satirical point of view, at its most overtly political, “terrible-state-of-the-union” best.
I recently caught up with with Lee about making the film.
This is the first original movie from Amazon. How did that deal happen?
Last Sundance we tried to sell the film and everyone said no, except Amazon. All it takes is one yes!
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