Spike Lee premiered his latest movie Red Hook Summer on Jan. 22 at the annual Sundance film festival, and took to the stage afterward to host a little Q-and-A from the stage.
After shouting “Is Brooklyn in the house,” and, “New York Giants! Going to the Super Bowl!” Lee took a question from VIP audience member, Chris Rock that seemed to set him off.
Rock seemed to imply that the low-budget Red Hook Summer might have suffered creatively from lack of studio financing, saying, “You spent your own money… What would you have done differently if you’d actually gotten… studio money? What else would have happened? Would you have blown up some [expletive]?”
Lee’s heated response was directed at Rock, whom he pointed at from the stage.Lee told him, “We never went to the studios with this film. I bought a camera and said we’re gonna do this mother[expletive] film ourselves. I didn’t need a mother[expletive] studio telling me something about Red Hook! They know nothing about black people! Nothing!” He added, “And they’re gonna give me notes about what a 13-year-old black boy and girl do in Red Hook? [Expletive] no!”
Despite rumors that Red Hook Summer is a sequel to Lee’s Do the Right Thing, the film is actually a coming-of-age story that follows a boy whose mother sends him from Atlanta to Red Hook, Brooklyn, to spend the summer with the strict Bible-thumping grandfather he’s never met.
Lee told the crowd, “You are the very first audience that has seen this film. Do me a favor. If you go out and talk about it, please tell them this is not a mother[expletive] sequel to Do the Right Thing.”
Reports described Lee as appearing “furious” on stage and “screaming at the top of his lungs.” He eventually told the stunned audience, “Sorry for that mother[expletive] tirade” and “my wife is looking at me like I’m crazy.”
Nothing like a little Chris Rock-induced temper tantrum to drive some pre-release film publicity. Not that it’s really needed. Critics and fans have been looking forward to an old-school Spike Lee-flavored joint since he wrapped Miracle at St. Anna in 2008. –kathleen cross