Saturday, August 14, 2010
Mo better blues
From Wax Poetics - "Remember our interview with Spike Lee in Issue 38? The following is an unpublished chunk from that piece.
Originally, Mo’ Better Blues was entitled A Love Supreme. Why did you change the title?
"Alice Coltrane! [laughs] I was in contact with her. She read the script and thought there was too much profanity in the film, and she preferred that we not use that title, but she would still let us use the song. The recording was much more important than the title.
Was Mo’ Better Blues the first instance of the media accusing you of anti-Semitism? With the portrayal of the two Jewish club owners?
The club owners were Moe and Josh Flatbush, played by John and Nick Turturro. This was something that blindsided me completely. There was a big brouhaha, and at that time, my lawyer, who is deceased and was Jewish, said, “Spike, if you want to continue to work in this industry, you have to get rid of this anti-Semitic label.” His name was Arthur Klein, and he suggested that I write an op-ed piece for The New York Times saying, “I’m not anti-Semitic.” I took his advice; I did that. They were really trying to lower the hammer. You never felt somebody on your ass until you have the JDL, B’nai B’rith, and whoever else on your ass with the anti-Semitic thing. They could put you on lockdown."
More Spike here. He also goes into the Oscars snub of Malcolm X, and his beef with Clint Eastwood over his Iwo Jima movies, and their lack of black soldiers.He's a straight talker.