Spike Lee Calls out the Coens and Eastwood

Wow, here’s a shocker: Spike Lee is not happy with a couple of his fellow Hollywood directors, and one reason involves race. The latest targets of the perennially wronged director is Clint Eastwood and the Coen Brothers. Lee took the opportunity to insult the award-winning directors during his news conference in Cannes, where he arrived to promote his WWII movie “Miracle at St. Anna”, the true story of black soldiers in Italy during World War II.

Reuters has the nitty gritty:

Speaking about his World War II drama “Miracle at St. Anna,” Lee said that, unlike the Coens, he was respectful in the way he portrayed death.

“I always treat life and death with respect, but most people don’t,” Lee said at a news conference Tuesday. “Look, I love the Coen brothers; we all studied at NYU. But they treat life like a joke. Ha ha ha. A joke. It’s like, ‘Look how they killed that guy! Look how blood squirts out the side of his head!’ I see things different than that.”

Speaking about the casting for his tale of four black American soldiers in Tuscany, Lee said that black actors appear in war films too infrequently.

“Clint Eastwood made two films about Iwo Jima that ran for more than four hours total, and there was not one Negro actor on the screen,” he said. “If you reporters had any balls you’d ask him why. There’s no way I know why he did that — that was his vision, not mine. But I know it was pointed out to him and that he could have changed it. It’s not like he didn’t know.”

I had originally thought that because of segregation, all the black soldiers during WWII were limited to the European theater. This isn’t the case, apparently, because according to this Guardian article, there were 900 black soldiers at Iwo Jima. So maybe Lee does have a point about Eastwood not even including one single black soldier in his two movies about Iwo Jima.

But about the Coens — seriously, Spike, it’s the movies, man, are you really going to quibble about stylish deaths?

Spike Lee and Michael Jordon