Spike Lee vs. Clint Eastwood

June 9, 2008


Spike Lee is annoying as well as being a really good promoter.  In Cannes a few weeks ago, he derided Clint Eastwood for not having any black soldiers onscreen in the four hours of film he’s put out on the Battle of Iwo Jima. Much more after the jump.

"I've no idea 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's not like he didn't know. It was a conscious decision not to have any black people."

Okay.  Maybe he was right.  What say you, Mr. Clint?

"The story is Flags of Our Fathers, the famous flag-raising picture, and they [the black troops] 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,” continuing to advise Lee, “A guy like him should shut his face."

Okay, keeping it above the belt for most of the discussion.  Semi-admirable.  At least his defense is one based on history, not a clear supplication to emotion.  And what was Lee’s retort to Eastwood’s defense of historical accuracy?

"First of all, the man is not my father and we're not on a plantation either," he told ABCNEWS.com. "He's a great director. He makes his films, I make my films. The thing about it though, I didn't personally attack him. And a comment like 'a guy like that should shut his face' - come on Clint, come on. He sounds like an angry old man right there."

At least you’re being the bigger (younger?) man, Lee, by bowing gracefully out of what you describe as an unprofessional feud.  Eastwood has not offered a comment in return. 

Something fun to think about:  Clint and Spike are buddies and go back behind the curtains together, share a giggle, a scotch, and partake in a fun and highly-symbolic game of chess knowing that both of their movies are getting free press.