Spike Lee’s LA RIOTS Is Shelved For Now

     February 2, 2009

Written by Nicole Pedersen

As a fan of Spike Lee’s brilliant HBO documentaries, “Four Little Girls” and “When The Levees Broke”, both of which examine the sociological impact of race and class (albeit from very different historical contexts), I was excited to hear that the director was also planning to tackle the Los Angeles riots. Back in 2006 Lee announced that he and Brian Grazer would be developing a narrative-style film about the chaos that ensued after the Rodney King verdict was announced in April of 1992. Considering that Lee previously showcased a fictional Brooklyn riot in “Do the Right Thing”, the real-life drama of 1992 looked like a dream project for both Lee and his audiences.

Now it seems that Spike will have to put the LA Riots behind him for the time being – budgetary concerns have forced him to shelve the project… for now. Speaking to MTV Movies Blog Lee confirmed that Universal, the studio behind the Spike Lee Joint “Inside Man”, asked the director to cut expenses. Guess how well that went over:

“We didn’t get the money that we needed to make the movie I wanted to make…How can you scale back the LA riots?! That’s not the movie I want to make. The studio said, ‘Scale it back.’ What’s the point?”

Although I have seen Lee do a lot with very small budgets, I can see how a director of his stature would be nonplused at the suggestion that he cut costs. I know times are tight in Hollywood and all, but I’m betting that Spike Lee is getting all the money he needs to make “Inside Man 2”.

As for the future of “LA Riots” Spike had this to say:

“It’s not dead…it’s on the shelf. Let’s use that term. It still should be made—I want to make it.”

To wonder how much it costs to hire extras to break shit click here.

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