Director fight: Spike Lee tries to start some stuff by complaining about the dearth of black characters in Clint Eastwood's two World War Two era films Flags of Our Fathers and Letters from Iwo Jima, but Clint isn't cowed.
Eastwood justified his choice of actors, saying that those black troops who did take part in the battle as part of a munitions company didn't raise the flag. The battle is known by the image of US marines raising the American flag on Mount Suribachi.
"The story is Flags of Our Fathers, the famous flag-raising picture, and they didn't do that. If I go ahead and put an African-American actor in there, people'd go: 'This guy's lost his mind.' I mean, it's not accurate." Referring to Lee, he added: "A guy like him should shut his face."Ouch!
Spike is promoting his own World War II film, Miracle at St. Anna, which featured the story of the all-black 92nd Buffalo Division--progeny of the Buffalo Soldiers of the 19th Century Indian conflicts--the only "colored" infantry division to engage in combat during World War II. They served in Italy. (The 24th Infantry Regiment--another "colored" unit--mopped up in the Pacific. The United States Armed Forces was desegregated in 1947.)
So if Spike knows that 92nd was the only black division to fight, that they engaged only in Europe and that Clint's two films are about the war in the Pacific, then what's he whining about? Oh yeah, I forgot. It's Spike Lee.
Clint goes on.
What are you going to do, you going to tell a f*ckin' story about that?" he said. "Make it look like a commercial for an equal opportunity player? I'm not in that game. I'm playing it the way I read it historically, and that's the way it is. When I do a movie and it's 90% black, like Bird, then I use 90% black people.Double Ouch!! I think Spike was making Nike commercials with Michael Jordan.
"He was complaining when I did Bird (the 1988 biopic of Charlie Parker). Why would a white guy be doing that? I was the only guy who made it, that's why. He could have gone ahead and made it. Instead he was making something else."
Have a seat, Spike. Or better yet--let the quality of your work do the talking.