Slate: But if you were, you wouldn't give a green light to projects like that.
Lee: Well, all I'm saying is that there would be more variety and diversity as far as subject matter. And I would hopefully see a greater picture of African-Americans' experience vs. one that's limited to comedies and hip-hop, drug, gangsta, shoot 'em up films.
Slate: You say in this book that you were really surprised that Damon Wayans could go from Bamboozled to Marci X.
Lee: That was a surprise to me. Look, I'm not in Damon's shoes. Everybody does what they want to do for their own specific reasons, but nonetheless it was still a surprise. Because Bamboozled [Lee's film about how blacks are represented—and how they represent themselves—in American entertainment] is really an indictment of that type of film.
Slate: Do you think there's a difference between a black acting style and a white acting style?
Lee: No, I'm not gonna—no, no, no, no, no, no. I'm not. Nope.
Slate: Because I look at a great actor like Jeffrey Wright—do you like his stuff?
Lee: Yeah, I love Jeffrey.
Slate: And I see that he's not an actor in the mold of, say, Brando, or Sean Penn. Wright disappears into his characters like a British actor, and I see a lot of African-American actors doing that—Cuba Gooding, I think, does that also.
Lee: You're putting Cuba Gooding in the same league with Jeffrey Wright?
TODAY IN SLATE
The Ebola Story
How our minds build narratives out of disaster.
The Budget Disaster That Completely Sabotaged the WHO’s Response to Ebola
PowerPoint Is the Worst, and Now It’s the Latest Way to Hack Into Your Computer
The Shooting Tragedies That Forged Canada’s Gun Politics
A Highly Unscientific Ranking of Crazy-Old German Beers
Welcome to 13th Grade!
Some high schools are offering a fifth year. That’s a great idea.
The Actual World
“Mount Thoreau” and the naming of things in the wilderness.