Few Hollywood folks have picked as many showbiz fights as Spike Lee. So I was amused when I read in the coming New Yorker magazine (article not online) that he was ending one feud and seeming to start another. I can’t remember all the spats. But a very public one took place back in 1997 when Lee criticized Quentin Tarantino for using the word “nigger” in movies. More recently, Spike started an international battle with Clint Eastwood. At a press conference at the Cannes Film Festival, Lee accused him of omitting black soldiers from his two recent movies about Iwo Jima, Flags of Our Fathers and Letters from Iwo Jima. Eastwood explained that he had left the black soldiers out because none had actually raised the flag, adding that “a guy like that should shut his face.” Lee shot back, saying Eastwood sounded like “an angry old man,” and that “the man is not my father and we’re not on a plantation either.” (So Lee’s new feature opening this month, Miracle at St. Anna, answers eastwood: it’s a WWII film about the U.S. Army’s all-black 92nd division that battled the Nazis during the Italian campaign.)
Lee tells The New Yorker that he ended the feud with Eastwood at a Lakers game (presumably during the recent basketball season’s playoffs). He said he saw Jeffrey Katzenberg, Steven Spielberg, and Eddie Murphy sitting together, so he went up to Spielberg and said, ” ‘Steven, it’s over with Clint Eastwood.’ Steven laughed and said, ‘I’ll call Clint and tell him in the morning.’ I said, ‘It’s over.’ He said, ‘Good.’ ”
But during the interview Lee may have started another feud, this time with Judd Apatow. During a break from scoring his new film with Terence Blanchard, a Sony Pictures Studio employee approached carrying a cardboard tube that contained a poster of Miracle at St. Anna and asking the men to sign it so it could be mounted in the hallway next to posters for other movies whose scores had been recorded there. ” ‘Yeah, O.K.,’ Lee said, brusquely. He added, ” ‘Don’t put us next to Judd Apapoe [sic], whatever that guy is,” Lee interrupted. ’We gotta be next to Spielberg and Williams!’ “
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