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Spike Lee doing a Joe Louis biopic with DJay as the Brown Bomber?

Ahoy, squirts! Quint here with a great little tidbit from a University talk Spike Lee did recently in the Detroit area. We had a spy there who heard something veeerrrryyyy interesting escape the lips of Mr. Lee. Here's the tip-off:

This past MLK day I had the opportunity to hear Spike Lee speak at a university in the metro Detroit area. Most of the presentation revolved around Mr. Lee speaking out about current social issues. When the conversation eventually turned towards the subject of film he was asked what he was currently working on. He said that after the Katrina documentary that he is working on he is hoping to get started on a Joe Louis bio pic starring none other than Oscar nominee Terrence Howard. I don't know if this is news to anyone else but I don't remember reading about this anywhere online so I thought I would send the info your way. If you use this call me The Baumer.

Period Spike Lee, Terrence Howard as Joe Louis... Count me there. We also got another bit of coverage from a different college talk (this on U of Mississippi), which echoes the last report, but gives a little more detail on the Katrina documentary and... SCHOOL DAZE 2? Hrmm... take a look!

Hello Harry,

I've never written in with a scoop before, but I don't get too many chances in Northern Mississippi. Fortunately, last Thursday Spike Lee visited my campus, the University of Mississippi. The mayor spoke and said that while Milos Forman and Robert Altman have done work around Oxford, MS, that Spike Lee is the first to make a public appearance.

He was a good speaker and talked about his experience growing up, getting into film school, personal responsibility, etc. He then talked about upcoming projects. After Inside Man, the film coming out in March I believe, he is going to put out a documentary about residents of New Orleans in the Katrina aftermath called "When the Levees Broke". The documentary would talk to different sets of residents all over the city, and see how the government response has failed, worked, or whatever. He said it would be in the vein of his "4 Little Girls" documentary.

After that, he has a script lined up to do a movie about Joe Lewis, with Terrence Howard playing Joe Lewis. He mentioned that he thought guys like Jackie Robinson and Joe Lewis were more inspirational in the battles they had to overcome, and he considered them his heroes when he broke the race boundaries in film.

He also spoke about the fascination among youth with gangster culture and about how any black youth trying to learn was accused of acting white. He said this was genocide because of how hard their ancestors had worked to have the right to learn. I mention this because he then said he had a script lined up to address these issues called "School Dayz 2". I don't know if that is the actual title or what. He said he liked the idea of revisiting a college campus story, only ten years after his School Daze film, and seeing how the culture and mindsets have changed.

He also said a more elaborate version of "He Got Game" would be coming out on dvd soon. If you use this, please call me JerkStore.

Drew Harris
2nd Year Law
University of Mississippi

Readers Talkback
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  • Feb. 20, 2006, 4:04 a.m. CST


    by Canadian_Psycho


  • Feb. 20, 2006, 4:05 a.m. CST

    This looks really cool!

    by Canadian_Psycho

    Just wanted to say that

  • Feb. 20, 2006, 4:40 a.m. CST

    Me likey... Joe Louis pic - I'm there

    by Det. John Kimble

    Who's up for Max Schmelling?

  • Feb. 20, 2006, 7:07 a.m. CST

    Me likey...Terrence Howard - I'm there

    by Holodigm

    Whoop that trick.

  • Feb. 20, 2006, 9:06 a.m. CST

    When are we going to see a biopic of Joe Fraser

    by spike fan

    That would be much more interesting specialy the shit Ali put him through thats alays gloseed over by Ali fawners. Something I dunno daring than this that looks like Spike Lee by the numbers.

  • Feb. 20, 2006, 9:09 a.m. CST

    Cool but...


    I want to know what is up with Spike's Jackie Robinson biopic. I have been dying to see that movie for well over a decade.

  • Feb. 20, 2006, 10:26 a.m. CST

    Why this news is so strange and exciting to me

    by Krypton Kid

    Last night I watched Michael Mann's director's cut of "ALI" and I couldn't help but wonder what the film would have been like with Spike Lee at the helm. Lee originally lobbied for the gig, but lost out to Mann who Will Smith reportedly preferred. But still, I wonder what Spike Lee's vesion of the story of the GOAT would have been like. Mann's "ALI" had some magnificent moments, especially the climactic battle with Foreman in Ziare, but overall it was a flat portrayal of a great, vibrant figure of American history and mythology. I wonder how Lee would have done it, how he would have made "ALI." Would he have given it more life and flare then Mann? Would it have been as epic as "Malcolm X" or as uneven as his lesser works? But in regards to a Joe Louis biopic all I can say is that it's long overdue. And Terrence Howard will be brilliant in the role. Here's an interesting factoid: Terrence Howard played Cassius Clay/Muhammad Ali in the television film "King of the World." He was good, but I got a feeling he will make a far more convincing Brown Bomber.

  • Feb. 20, 2006, 10:47 a.m. CST

    Fuck Yeah! T-Howard's been great for years...

    by R.C. the "Wise"

    it's just great that he's finally getting his share of the limelight. This will be fantastic. Even if Spike's directing.

  • Feb. 20, 2006, 11:37 a.m. CST

    Oh... now I'm excited!

    by Darth Thoth

    This could awesome. Simply awesome.

  • Feb. 20, 2006, 11:52 a.m. CST

    How bout a vacation from boxing pics for a while

    by jimmy_009

    considering how no one actually watches boxing anymore, this rash of boxing movies makes no sense. The movies are actually more popular than the sport.

  • Feb. 20, 2006, 11:53 a.m. CST

    Yeah, Jackie Robinson movie would be much better

    by jimmy_009

  • Feb. 20, 2006, 12:38 p.m. CST

    Is Terrence Howard a legit toplining star?

    by JackRabbitSlim

    Hate to see Spike pour a lot of blood sweat and tears into a film that would bring no box. He's a great actor ... but so is Pete Postewaithe and no way in hell is he a topbilled actor.

  • Feb. 20, 2006, 4:05 p.m. CST

    You said it Jimmy_009

    by Alpha and Omega

    This boxing trend is ruining my enjoyment of the sport and the films. Million Dollar Baby was ok and Cinderella Man was one of the best I've ever seen, but these trends are growing tiresome. Is hollywood really that hard up for ideas? Hey, let's take another person's life story, re-write it so it sounds better, and we can say that it was "inspired" or "based on" true stories. . . Righttt. . .

  • Feb. 20, 2006, 4:20 p.m. CST

    Who runs this site, Scooter Libby?

    by Sherman_Lives

    I don't think the second poster wanted his name released with the story. You see, that's why he asked to be referred to as "Jerkstore." His reasons for wanting that handle are his alone, but I doubt his intention was to post his request for a pseudonym, followed directly by his actual name. I'm not using his real name in this TB in the hopes that it will be removed from the original post. And to think, some reporters go to jail to protect their sources.

  • Feb. 20, 2006, 5:10 p.m. CST

    after the year he's had...

    by keyserSOZE

    Howard is definitely a top line star. he's had several big movies, including one nominated for best picture and another that earned him a best actor nod...he's been on magazine covers...he's had tons of articles about him...2005 was about as big of a "blow up" year for an actor as i've seen in awhile.

  • Feb. 20, 2006, 5:50 p.m. CST

    Joe Louis vs the Nazis

    by AwesomeBillFunk

    A Joe Louis movie could be all kinds of goodness. Hopefully it will focus on his fights with Max Schmeling, and the attention and inspiration these fights aroused within the American public, black and white alike. It's such an obvious act of symbolism, big black guy beating the crap out of a big German guy during the Nazi era. Everyone loves seeing Nazi's being beaten the crap out of right? Yeah a feel good story. Although I doubt Spike Lee would do anything quite so simplistic, there are obviously complexities involved. Joe was quite a compromised character and had to be to be in order to gain acceptance from a mainstream white American public. And Max Schmeling hardly seemed a an iron hearted Nazi.

  • Feb. 20, 2006, 7:20 p.m. CST

    Spike Lee wanted to do a movie about Jackie............

    by axelfoley

    He has been planning it for years. It was rumored Denzel Washington was going to play the lead. I've heard about that project for 9 years now. I think it'd be a wonderful film. Robinson is long overdue for a film. The HBO film "Soul of the Game" was decent, but a movie on just Robinson himself would be very ideal.

  • Feb. 20, 2006, 10:27 p.m. CST

    I can sum up the movie for ya

    by Reverendz

    Goofy tracking shot where the actor stands on a platform appearing to "float" as he/she goes down the street. This will be followed by a conversation between two actors where the camera loops around them in a 360 arc for the duration of the scene. Then we get gratuitous boob shots (not that I'm complaining mind you) mixed in with some made up character Spike plays who will either just come out and say what the movie is about or through his bad example offer sage wisdom. Some white guy will reveal his racist/sexist self during a diatribe and a black man will learn the lesson that pussy is bad for you. The movie will have a terrible ending that will make you feel ripped off for watching the whole movie.

  • Feb. 21, 2006, 3:37 a.m. CST

    This isn't new

    by Plum

    I read last year that he wanted Howard for Louis and that Hugh Jackman was up for the role of Schmeling.

  • Feb. 21, 2006, 6:31 a.m. CST

    School Daze 2 sounds interesting...

    by dr_buggerlugs'd be interesting to see a contemporary companion piece about the divide between young people who choose education and those who choose a faux gangster lifestyle...the Joe Louis film sounds pretty great as well...on his A-game, Spike's one of the best American filmmakers period and subject matter like this should be enough to get him on his best form.