Famed filmmaker Spike Lee is spreading the word about his latest film project. As the Oscar-nominated director preps for the release of his highly anticipated film Old Boy this fall, Lee is already drawing attention for the follow-up — and his approach for funding it. The man behind such acclaimed movies as Do the Right Thing and Malcolm X is using the online crowd-funding service Kickstarter to raise money to produce his next independent project.
“Kickstarter is a vehicle for artists to get their works made,” Spike tells rolling out. “Yesterday on Kickstarter was our first day of 30 to raise finances for our new film. Our goal is a $1.25 million and we have 30 days to reach that. The lowest [supporters can pledge] is 5 dollars and for each pledge, there are different tiers of rewards. So you get rewards for your money and it’s affordable for everybody.”
Lee isn’t giving away too much about the film itself, but he says with a sly grin that it’s unlike anything you’ve seen at your local cinema. “The film is a psychological bloodythriller,” he explains “It’s about people who are addicted to blood, but they are not vampires. And we are not remaking Blacula.” Spike says that he became aware of the potential for using Kickstarter to fund the project after seeing actor-filmmaker Zach Braff raise $3.5 million and the “Veronica Mars” movie raise $5 million; and this project was the perfect chance for him to attempt similar results. “This is an independent film and not what a studio would want to do because they would see that it’s too small in scope,” he says.
Lee has had a famously contentious relationship with major Hollywood studios, but he’s not doing this out of any aversion to their system. He feels that, now more than ever, filmmakers have options. And it’s especially important to utilize all avenues when big studios seem only interested in making blockbusters with franchise potential.
“Premium cable networks like HBO, Showtime and even Netflix are doing Hollywood work,” says Lee. “They’re doing stuff that you might say even surpasses what’s being done by studios now. It’s definitely more interesting, in my opinion.”
But his next release is a major studio film. And Lee says that he was excited to direct the remake of the Korean film Old Boy and doesn’t want to limit himself artistically.
“I’ve always gone back-and-forth between independent films and studio films. I still think of myself as an independent filmmaker who does Hollywood films,” he explains. “There are several things that attracted me to doing a reinterpretation of Old Boy; number one, I loved the film; number two, it was a big challenge; number three, [star] Josh Brolin and I had been talking about working together for years.”
Old Boy also reunites Lee with Samuel L. Jackson. The two haven’t worked together since 1991, when Jackson gave a star-making performance in Lee’s Jungle Fever.
“Sam had been in School Daze, Do the Right Thing, Mo’ Better Blues, but it was thatJungle Fever role as ‘Gator the Crackhead’ that blew him up,” Lee says. “So it was great reuniting with Sam on Old Boy. People are going to love his role in this film.”