Spike Lee's latest film, Da 5 Bloods, has released on Netflix to widespread critical acclaim, adding to Lee's impressive filmography over a career spanning decades. And yet, despite the filmmaker's last movie Black KKKlansman also being a hit with critics and at the box office, Lee revealed in an interview for The Hollywood Reporter that none of the Hollywood studios wanted to touch his latest project.
"We barely got this film made. We had gone to every studio, and they all turned it down. I've had many, many projects turned down, and in my history, they don't say they hate it, they just say, 'No, it's just not for us.' I'm in this game a long time. So when someone doesn't want to do it, I'm not going to say, 'But why? Why don't you want to make this film?' I just say, 'Thank you.' And keep stepping. Like Jay-Z. On to the next one. And that is why I've been able to amass a body of work. I'm not going to sit around and cry. Keep it moving. There was nowhere to go after Netflix."
Da 5 Bloods is an American war drama crossed with a buddy-road-trip aesthetic. It tells the story of a group of aging Vietnam War veterans who return to the country in search of treasure they buried while stationed there. The film stars Delroy Lindo, Jonathan Majors, Clarke Peters, Norm Lewis, Isiah Whitlock Jr., Mélanie Thierry, Paul Walter Hauser, Jasper Pääkkönen, Jean Reno, and Chadwick Boseman in the main cast.
It is no surprise that even a project that has names like Spike Lee and Chadwick Boseman attached to it would have trouble gaining traction in Hollywood. A similar difficulty faced Martin Scorsese when he was making The Irishman with Al Pacino, Joe Pesci, and Robert De Niro. In that case, also, the movie found it's home at Netflix, and it was once again the streaming giant who came to Lee's aid with funds to make his film. Choosing streaming over a theatrical release is a difficult choice for many filmmakers, but Lee has made his peace with the arrangement.
"Look, I'm not complaining. On June 12, a new Spike Lee Joint will be streamed all across the world. And people are looking for content, going through that third month. So hopefully, God willing, lots of people will check it out."
Netflix also has plans to release Da 5 Bloods in theaters for a brief period, which again was the strategy they pursued with The Irishman. Lee does want to see his film hit theaters, but only when it is safe to do so.
"I hope so, but me personally, I hope only when it's safe. There are theaters open now, but I would not go see a movie now. But I do hope that somewhere down the line, people could see this film on a big screen because going into it, the whole thing was, 'We have to make this film on an epic scale.' And I don't care how big your widescreen is at home. It's not bigger than a movie theater. Unless you got a big-ass house."
This news comes direct from The Hollywood Reporter.