A day after making a controversial statement that studios "know nothing about black people" during a Q&A session for his film "Red Hook Summer" at the 2012 Sundance Film Festival on Sunday, January 22, Spike Lee claimed that he didn't mean to condemn Hollywood with his comment. He explained that he just wanted to make the film because Hollywood didn't want it.
"My wife told me when I left this morning, 'You're defeating the purpose. Just talk about the movie'," he spoke to The Times, as quoted by L.A. Times, on Monday morning when discussing his film that tells about a black priest and his grandson in a contemporary Brooklyn housing project. "I'm not here to condemn Hollywood, even if it may sound like that."
The 54-year-old filmmaker went on explaining that he made "Red Hook Summer" since he felt that Hollywood had "shirked its duty" when it dealt with movies about black people. "One of my favorite film is 'Stand by Me'. But there's no black person in it," he said. "It's a great film, but where's the African American version? You know, kids growing up. It doesn't have to be all ducking bullets..."
During the chat, the Georgia-born director also discussed the controversial scene in the drama that sees a preacher sexually harassing a young boy while having him read the holy Bible. "It was one of the most difficult scenes I've ever done," he said. "But I knew it had to be done. It would have been cowardly and gutless and punkish to not deal with it straight on."
Lee continued explaining why he insisted to make the controversial movie, "And here's the thing. It's my money. I financed the film because I didn't want people to tell me there's no audience for this film so we need to change this or that." The film still hasn't signed a deal with any distributor at Sundance, but Lee is confident that it would happen soon and that the movie could be released in the U.S. theaters this summer.
On Sunday, Lee shocked the audience at the Eccles Theater when he stated that "they [studios] know nothing about black people. Nothing!" He then claimed, "I didn't want to hear no motherf***ing notes from the studio telling me about what a young 13-year-old boy and girl would do in 'Red Hook'. F*** no."
Spike Lee's "Red Hook Summer" follows Flick, a young boy from Atlanta who lives with his preacher grandpa over the summer. The film also deals with several issues in contemporary Brooklyn like gentrification, black poverty, as well as the strong influence of religion and sex abuse.