Shelton Jackson Lee (b. 20th March 1957) Spike Lee is an American film director, producer and writer. His hometown is Brooklyn, New York. He started his own production company under the name '40 Acres and A Mule Filmworks'. Spike Lee is renowned for his controversial topics in films, some of which highlight race relations, poverty and political issues.
Early life: Lee was born in Atlanta, Georgia. His mother, Jacqueline Carroll, taught the arts and black literature while his father, William James Edward Lee III, was a jazz musician. He got his nickname 'Spike' from his mother and he attended John Dewey High School. Lee then attended Morehouse College and made his first film 'Last Hustle In Brooklyn' before leaving with a BA in Mass Communication. During that time he also took film courses at Clark Atlanta University, and later did graduate work at New York University's Tisch School of the Arts where he landed himself a Master of Fine Arts in Film & Television.
Career: Spike Lee completed his first thesis film 'Joe's Bed-Stuy Barbershop: We Cut Heads' in 1983 and showcased it at Lincoln Center's New Directors New Films Festival. In 1985, Lee made his first feature film 'She's Gotta Have It'. The budget was $175,000 and was released in 1986; the film grossed $7,000,000 at the U.S Box Office and it was shot in only two weeks.
1989 saw the release of controversial film 'Do The Right Thing' which earned him an Oscar nomination for Best Screenplay. The following year, 'Mo' Better Blues' was released. Lee released '4 Little Girls' in 1997; a documentary that explored the killings of the children from a church bombing in Birmingham, Alabama in 1963. The film was nominated for Best Feature Documentary at the Academy Awards.
Commercials: In 1990, Levi's jeans took Lee on to produce the TV commercials for the 501 button fly selection. Nike offered Lee a deal to direct for the company, and worked on the 'Air Jordans' line. His success in commercials then spanned to the likes of Converse, Taco Bell, Ben & Jerry's and Jaguar.
Personal Life: Lee is married to Tonya Lewis who is an attorney. They have two children; their daughter Satchel (b. Dec.1994) and their son Jackson (b. 1997). Lee is an avid New York Yankees fan, as well as a New York Knicks and English Football Team, Arsenal. Lee has his own office, and lives with his wife Tonya in Upper-East Manhattan, New York.
Spike Lee's latest joint is causing controversy.
A campaign to pressure movie director Spike Lee to change the name of his upcoming movie Chiraq has stepped up after a rookie alderman refused to grant a city permit to close a street for a summer block party.
Spike Lee is facing pressure to change the title of his upcoming movie Chiraq
Newly elected Ald. David Moore (17th) is refusing to grant permission for a bash outside St. Sabina's Catholic Church in Auburn-Gresham on Saturday because it is sponsored by Lee and the cast of Chiraq - a film about black-on-black violence.
Continue reading: Spike Lee versus Chicago Intensifies After Street Party is Blocked
The uncompromising director has sparked outrage among some of Chicago's residence for using the city's nickname 'Chiraq', and are worried that the project may end up glamorising violence.
Famed director Spike Lee was accused of insulting the residents of the city of Chicago by titling his new project ‘Chiraq’, a movie which will look at education and violence. He has also been criticised for doing damage to the city’s reputation and hurting tourism by choosing the term.
The moniker ‘Chiraq’ is a nickname sometimes used for the city by its young inhabitants, referring to its reputation for street violence and gun crime. But a number of anti-gun crime campaigners and tourist officials have pulled up Lee, a director famed for his uncompromising depictions of struggles in society, for perpetuating an unhelpful stereotype by choosing the title.
Continue reading: Director Spike Lee Courts Controversy By Calling New Film 'Chiraq'
The 'Happy' singer is to perform at a special one-off concert filmed by Spike Lee.
Pharrell Williams is to team up with director Spike Lee for the streaming version of his upcoming concert at the Apollo Theater on the 3rd June. The concert will be part of American Express Unstaged, a collaboration between YouTube and Vevo, the 14th instalment of a series in which performers and directors team up for a unique staged performance.
Pharrell Williams Is Teaming Up With Spike Lee For A Very Special Concert Experience.
"Pharrell and I have been friends for years," Mr. Lee said in an interview, "and we've talked about working together, and now it's coming to fruition and I'm happy about that - we both are." Of the very special New York venue, Lee added "I think it was a great choice [...] It's one of the great places for music in the world, when you think of all the people who've come across the stage."
Continue reading: Pharrell To Team Up With Spike Lee For Apollo Theater Debut
Spike Lee's 'She's Gotta Have It' could in for a comedy series on Showtime.
She's Gotta Have It, easily one of Spike Lee's best movies, is to be resurrected and adapted for the small screen after Showtime commissioned a pilot. Lee is on board as the show's director and writer, with the plan to overall the movie's plot, cast and characters for a contemporary audience.
Spike Lee Is On-Board For 'She's Gotta Have It'
Set in Brooklyn, the movie explores the story of a sexually liberated black female (Tracy Camilla Johns) and the three suitors who hope to win her over. As with many of Lee's movies, it contains themes concerning race, gender, gentrification and sexuality. It took Lee just 12 days to shoot, on a budget of $175,000.
Continue reading: One of Spike Lee's Best Joints, 'She's Gotta Have It', To Get TV Series
Lee won't be sipping a chai lattes around Brooklyn anytime soon.
Spike Lee ruffled a few feathers when he let loose on the contemporary residents of Brooklyn and their dogs during his speech at the Pratt Institute. His tirade was never going to be unleashed without rebuttals, and Mitchell Moss, a professor of urban policy and planning at New York University's Wagner School of Public Service, has offered up just that.
Spike Lee has a go at hipsters...
Just in case you needed a reminder of what Lee’s views on the hipsters that currently dwell amidst the Brooklyn hubris are; when an audiences member suggested an ostensibly positive aspect of gentrification, Lee replied: “Let me, let me, let me, let me just kill you right now.” Lee was talking at Brooklyn's Pratt Institute, an art, design, and architecture school. "I grew up here in New York. It's changed," he said. The transcript is here on The Guardian.
Continue reading: Spike Lee Gentrification Rant: Let The Rebuttals Begin
Spike Lee's views on Brooklyn have faced opposition.
Spike Lee wants you to listen to his views on Brooklyn, which he claims has been gentrified and taken over by hipsters and dog walkers. During his speech at the Pratt Institute, the millionaire film director laid into an audience member for ruining his rundown neighbourhood.
Spike Lee Doesn't Much Care for Brooklyn, Anymore
When the audience member suggested that there are positives to gentrification, Lee yelled, "Let me just kill you right now.Have you seen Fort Greene Park in the morning? It's like the m-----f-----g Westminster dog show."
Continue reading: Spike Lee Explodes at Brooklyn Hipsters, And Their Dogs
Moviegoers who know nothing about the iconic 2003 Korean thriller will perhaps enjoy this half-hearted remake. It lacks the subtlety and irony of Park Chan-wook's deranged masterpiece, but Spike Lee brings a certain technical sleekness that holds our interest. Especially as the complex plot begins to twist and turn, gleefully pulling the rug out from under us.
It centres on Joe (Brolin), a drunken loser who blows his last chance at his job by coming on to a client's wife. The next morning he wakes up in a sleazy hotel room that turns out to be a locked cell where he'll be held for the next 20 years. He's shown news updates on how he's the prime suspect in his wife's violent murder, and he watches his daughter grow up in an adoptive family's home. Suddenly focussed on revenge, he plots his escape and then is caught off guard when he's inexplicably released. With the help of his old friend Chucky (Imperioli) and helpful nurse Marie (Olsen), Joe tracks down his flamboyant jailer (Jackson) and then the creepy man (Copley) who paid the bills and now demands that Joe understands why he did it.
Yes, the plot is a big puzzle, and watching the various pieces fall into place keeps us riveted to the screen, even if nothing is particularly involving. Lee's mistake is to play everything dead straight, with only the odd hint of black humour or underlying madness. Instead, we get bigger action fight scenes (cool but choreographed) and a variety of surprises and revelations that often make us gasp. And all of this is played with razor-sharp intensity by Brolin, who gives us just enough emotion to keep us engaged with his journey.
Continue reading: Oldboy Review
The 'Oldboy' remake flopped at the box office.
The big news from the weekend's box-office was The Hunger Games: Catching Fire reasserting its superiority with an impressive second week total of $74.5 million. That's a huge increase in the $58 million that the original film made in its second week. The Jennifer Lawrence-starring sequel as now taken an incredible $573 million worldwide and looks on-course to become the biggest grossing movie of the year
Josh Brolin in Oldboy
Though Catching Fire was the big winner at the box-office, it was Spike Lee's completely unnecessary remake of Chan-wood Park's 2003 classic Oldboy that made the headlines. The film - which cost $30 million to make - bombed with just $850,000 in takings from 583 theaters. The film has considerable draws in the form of Samuel L. Jackson and Josh Brolin, though the publicity tour was almost non-existent and reviews were terrible.
Continue reading: Hunger Games Rules, But 'Oldboy' Remake Could Be Biggest Flop of 2013
A brief roundup of the good, the bad and the immensely profitable films this Thanksgiving weekend.
This holiday box office is already predicted to be a record breaker. With both Frozen premiering and The Hunger Games: Catching Fire in cinemas, both movies are on course to break the previous Thanksgiving weekend record, according to The Hollywood Reporter. For the Wednesday-Sunday period, Frozen is predicted to bring in around $90 million, second only to Catching Fire, which is holding steady in its second week of release with $100 million predicted earnings for the same time period.
The second Hunger Games movie is on fire, if you'll pardon the pun.
Frozen is poised to easily beat the previous record for a Thanksgiving opening, which was set by Toy Story in 1999 with $80.1 million. It's also set to score the top opening for a Disney Animation Studios title, besting the $68.7 million debut of Tangled over Thanksgiving in 2010.
Continue reading: Box Office Highlights: What Are You Seeing This Weekend?
Questions need to be asked as to why Spike Lee chose to remake a classic movie that's less than 10 years old.
Spike Lee's Oldboy - a visceral thriller based on Park Chan-wook's classic 2004 movie - will have to do solid box-office business to justify itself after a wave of middling reviews from critics.
Josh Brolin in Spike Lee's 'Oldboy'
Lee's remake follows the story of Joe Doucette - played here by Josh Brolin - a man who is abruptly kidnapped and held hostage for 20 years in solitary confinement for no apparent reason. When he is suddenly released without explanation, he begins an obsessive mission to find out who imprisoned him. The remake co-stars Elizabeth Olsen and Sharlto Copley, though despite the impressive cast, Oldboy appears to fall short of even the most basic of expectations.
Continue reading: 'Oldboy' Claws Back Respectability, But Critics Remain Unconvinced