Spike Lee’s not a director who keeps his mouth shut when he has the opportunity to talk about subjects that make him mad. And his movies are shot through with the themes he’s always so vocal about.
So it comes as no surprise that the launch of his latest project – an untitled war drama that finds black soldiers battling Germans in Tuscany – gave him a podium to tackle injustice.
"If you look at the history of Hollywood, the black soldiers who fought World War II are totally invisible," Lee mouthed at a press conference in Rome. "This is the paradox: black people who were fighting for democracy but at the same time were second class citizens at home.” Aiming to right that wrong, his new film has four solid lead parts for black actors and a variety of supporting roles for Italian stars.
To highlight his concerns, Lee invited veteran William Perry to recount the battle that saw his 15,000-strong battalion of black Buffalo Soldiers lose 3,000 men in Italy.
The new film doesn’t have an actual cast yet, but it does have a script written by James McBride, on whose novel, Miracle At St Anna, the plot will be based. Lee’s now off scouting locations and hunting down the cash to get the cameras rolling.