Interrogating Spike Lee.

Interviews with a point.
Dec. 1 2005 1:05 PM

Spike Lee

The director talks about movies, race, and Will Smith.

(Continued from Page 2)

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.

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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?

Slate: No.

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