The Genius of Filmmaker SPIKE LEE Mammothly Succeeds With His Latest Effort "SHE HATE ME"
A Film About Sex, Greed, Money and Politics In America - Now In Theaters Everywhere
By: Gatsby Melodi'
(l to r) Kerry Washington as Fatima; Dania Ramirez as
Alex; and Paula Jai Parker as Evelyn in "SHE HATE ME"
A Spike Lee Film from Sony Pictures Classics.
Since making his feature film debut, director Spike Lee
has shown an amazing ability to detect the pulse of
America's concerns at any given time. His films can be
described as signposts tracking the evolution of the
country's on-going discourse of race, sex and politics.
"SHE HATE ME" carries on that tradition by exploring
Americans attitude towards morality and ethics.
"I knew I wanted to do a story about what was happening
in corporate America. That's where the story came from
wanting to impregnate", Spike Lee told Afro American
Syndicate and a throng of reporters, at a press junket
held in New York City, at the Regency Hotel on Park
Avenue, a few days ago.
Mr. Lee said that he was inspired by the recent events
involving Enron, Worldcom, Halliburton, and Martha
Stewart, just to name a few. "Greed and fraud seems to
have replaced good governance and corporate
responsibility", he continued.
"These corporations had some shaky people at the top. I
decided to pair that line of inquiry with the idea of sex and
procreation. A volatile mixture. This film is also a
commentary on the hypocrisy of America on the issue of
sex. I wanted to raise questions about the decline of
morals and ethics in America, from the boardroom to the
Mr. Lee stated that there appears to be a gray line
between morality and ethics. "That's the feeling when
people will do anything for money. Every human being
will make a choice. People have to deal with the
consequences of those choices", said Spike Lee.
In "SHE HATE ME" Jack (Anthony Mackie) has a great
Wall Street job, expensive material possessions and an
overwhelming sense of confidence in his abilities and
ambition to achieve his goals.
There's just one thing wrong - he uncovers greed and
deception in his Wall Street company, and does what he
thinks is noble. He blows the whistle, but instead of
receiving justice, he quickly is stripped of everything,
including access to his money in the bank.
from her agent - that Spike Lee was considering her for a role in his
movie. "I didn't even read the script until I got on the plane. I
immedaitely said YES", she told us. "I'm drawn to Spike's work
because he is layered with unique perspectives on American life."
Did I mention that Fatima is a lesbian? Or that Fatima has a lover
named Alex, played by Dominican born New York City raised model
turned actress, the very beautiful Dania Ramirez.
The film opens with current president George Bush photo on a $3 bill,
there is a suicide, shreading of papers, talks of ethic violations, and if
these scenarios remind us of past government practices and what
blowing the whistle nets, then remember Frank Wills, the Watergate
security guard who discovered the 1972 break-in that led to President
Nixon's resignation, who died September 27, 2000, broke and
penniless, he was 52.
Early on June 17, 1972, Wills found a piece of gray tape over a door
latch leading into the Watergate complex. Thinking a shift worker had
put it there to make getting in and out of the building easier, he simply
pulled it off and stuffed it in into his pocket. When he later found a
second piece of tape over the lock, he called police. Wills made
headlines in 1983 when a Georgia court convicted him of shoplifting a
$12 pair of sneakers. At the time, Wills said he was going to buy the
shoes for his son and was hiding them in a bag so they would be a
surprise. In 1990, an unemployable Wills, went home to take care of
his ailing mother. The two lived off her $450 a month Social Security
check until her death in November 1992. When she died, Wills said he
could not afford to bury her, so he donated her body to science.
"I am fascincated with, and disturbed by Frank Wills forced to living his
life out in poverty", Spike Lee told us. I set out to make a film to push
buttons. But I wanted it to be funny, sexy, but with very legitimate
commentary. I checked out sperm banks and found out for money you
need only sign a donor waiver form dealing with legal implications, and
for potential babies to be born right-handed or left handed, eye colors
and hair colors, and for this they are paid more money."
"I want more pressure on the fathers. In my film, Jack decides in a
survival mode to throw ethics out the window, and so he is facing a
prison term. At the end of the film Jack finds his way back in to morals,
which is why he blew the whistle. Do Right or Do Wrong????"
Faced with eviction from his
apartment, and a charge against
him for involvement with deception
from the government, ex-girlfriend
Fatima (Kerry Washington) makes
him an offer he cannot refuse -
$10,000 for his sperm, to
impregnante her, with no strings
"He has resulted to selling his
sperm for money", interjects
Anthony Mackie, about the
character he portrays in the film.
"But through the process of that
experience, Jack learns what is
Also on hand was the comical and
highly energized Kerry Washington
("The Human Stain", "Sin", "Bad
Company", "Save the Last Dance"),
who plays Fatima, (Mackie's
ex-girlfriend). Kerry Washington is
a natural comic, and had us
convulsed with laughter as she
shared her cognizance of the film.
She stated that she received a call
Director Jonathan Demme on the set of "Manchurian
Candidate." Paramount Pictures presents a Scott
Rudin/Tina Sinatra Production, in association with
Clinica Estetico, A Jonathan Demme Picture
Meryl Streep plays Eleanor Prentiss Shaw, a powerful
U.S. Senator who has ambitious plans for her son
Congressman Raymond Shaw. "Eleanor is intelligent
with ambition,and a clear idea how to move the country
forward", said Ms. Streep. "I think she thinks she is
patriotic. It goes to the core of her being, and she's sure
there is no neurosis in her. I made her fun and engaging."
She explained the film using these words, "Whoever has
the most money has the most say, is not right!"
The next person to enter was Denzel Washington, who
plays the tormented Army Major Ben Marco, played by
Frank Sinatra in the 1962 film directed by John
"When playing a part that has already been created by
another actor, the decision always arises as to whether
or not seeing that interpretation would be valuable. I
chose not to look at the original movie so that my idea
about Marco would be completely my own", said Mr.
Washington. "This is a very interesting, complicated
story, and my character is very complex. What Marco
remembers about the ambush doesn't coincide with
what he sees in his dreams and believes to be true, so
he's very conflicted."
Originally the home of Denzel's character was designed
to be meticulously neat, in keeping with his military
background; however, Denzel imagined that the
character's obsessive nature would turn him into a pack
rat, and so what you see is a small dark space filled with
books and newspapers. "Maybe all Marco can do is hold
himself together by putting on his uniform every morning"
said Mr. Washington. "His house is full of signs
indicating a man who is on the verge of an internal
breakdown. I think he would be unbelievably messy, not
able to throw anything out because he is obsessed with
piecing together what happened to him."
To the suggestion that this role is facsimile to one he
played in "Courage Under Fire", Mr. Washington quickly
assets, "In that movie he knew his past, here he's not
sure. This movie is about mind control, brain washing. It
is a cautionary tale. It is good material that should be
interpreted." And in terms of ad libs, "If it ain't on the
page, it ain't on the stage" emphasized Mr. Washington.
The last person to enter the room was Tina Sinatra,
who said "I think we said in the movie - politics money
and power are very linked. It is a conspiracy theory, Big
business and politics. Either buy into it, or eat your
popcorn, enjoy it, then go home and talk about it"
"My father (Frank Sinatra) invited me in 23 years ago. I
always took things to him. I cut my teeth on production.
We updated the film, and it was made prior to 911."
(for which he won the "Best Director" Academy Award ,
"Philadelphia", and "Devil in a Blue Dress".
Paramount Pictures invited world press to sit and chit
chat in an intimate setting with Mr. Demme, and a few
of the star-studded cast members which included
Denzel Washington, Meryl Streep, and Kimberly Elise,
along with co-producer Tina Sinatra to discuss the
Paramount Pictures film "THE MANCHURIAN
CANDIDATE", prior to its global release Friday,
July 30, 2004.
The first person to enter the room to discuss the
eye-opening enthraller, of mind control and abuse of
political power, was director Jonathan Demme who
said the film, "is based upon Richard Condon's
best-selling classic novel."
"There are no boundaries on modern science what
money can achieve" Demme began. "Humans
conditioned to never change their minds, in order to
make it a safer more profitable world, caused me to
read a book called "In Search of Manchurian
Candidate" and sent me to the CIA files regarding
mind altering during the 1960's to late 70's. We didn't
have aspirations to make it science-fictional. We
wanted to shape it the way people behave, and we do
show procedure with the two doctors who perform
"Dan Pyne (who authored the draft I got), and I spent a
lot of time making choices. We wanted this film to be
fresh. The first script had an elaborate trigger
mechanism using cards. I didn't believe it. We had to
have our own trigger. No zombies, but alpha state in
combat. They hear what others can't. I loved the book.
He's (Pyne) made a new picture of the classic."
What party is it?" a reporter queried Demme, "It is a
Non-parisian cautionary tale" Mr. Demme responded.
The next person to enter the room was actress
"Rosie has a heart of gold, and she's one of the few
people willing to find out what's going on inside Marco",
Elise said. "Denzel is exciting as Ben Marco. We so often
see him playing characters that are in control, but in this
instance he gets to portray someone with a lot of
vulnerabilities, a strong man, but one who's lost in a web
he can't figure out."
How did she land the role among the heavy hitters?
"Jonathan called me", Ms. Elise responded with her very
large and beautiful eyes. " I knew about the project. I
thought it had great sensitivity and vulnerability that had to
be taken in a different way. There is a scene in the
bathroom when Marco drops his medication It is then
she realizes he's troubled - not crazy. The biggest thing
for me was - FBI agents are shown as fearless. They can
do everything. So you don't run down the hallway like a
superwoman, but there are emotions and you cry
because you didn't get killed. She realizes she's got the
world on her shoulders. She is only moments behind
him in her mind, which is why she looks into the monitor.
This film is a reminder to be aware and don't take things
at face value. We're in an ignorant bliss", Ms. Elise
The next person to enter the room was Meryl Streep, who
looks and sounds exactly like she does in the movies.
She's very personable and reachable. A reporter from
FOX Television News said to Ms. Streep as she walked
to her seat, "that's a beautiful jacket", "Thank you it's from
China" Ms. Streep opened communications with a smile.
"Two years ago I read a great script that Denzel
Washington was going to be in", Ms Streep began
speaking. "The film had a great director, fantastic cast, a
script that read like gangbusters with paranoia and
incest. My character was aggressive and ambitious, and
that's what drew me to the film."
I asked Ms. Streep if her character was patterned after
Hillary Clinton, especially since there are many
correlations like extremely charismatic, blond, attractive,
smart, intelligent, savvy, ambitious and high energy. She
responded emphatically "I don't see any Hillary in her
except bangs. This character has venom."
Ms. Streep then went on to share with us "There is a
website out there. I think it's called 'Death By Liberals',
and it attacks Hillary, and this is a bad thing. Hillary does
not deserve this."
Well who is it? reporters asked Ms. Streep, "I'm not telling
she responded". Suddenly a reporter shouted Karen
Hughes? And she responded with a huge wide grin on
her face, "You are the first person to get it right."
It's Fascinatingly Innovative - - "SKY CAPTAIN
and the WORLD OF TOMORROW"
Stars Jude Law, Gwyneth Paltrow, Bai Ling, Giovanni
Ribisi In New York City With Writer/Director Kerry
Conran & Producer Kerry Conran Promoting the Film
Open In Theaters September 17th
By: Gatsby Melodi'
It All Started Like Any Other Night -
JAMIE FOXX, TOM CRUISE AND
JADA PINKETT SMITH Are Riveting
In Michael Mann's "COLLATERAL"
From Dreamworks Pictures Opens Aug 6th
By: Gatsby Melodi'
"The World of Tomorrow" opens with a zeppelin flying
through a snowstorm to dock at the top of the Empire
State Building. Moments later, flying robots descend into
the soaring skyscraper canyons of Manhattan, wreaking
havoc, and the hero, ace aviator
One of the
Foxx in the
Max (Jamie Foxx) is a cab driver paid to take a
mysterious passenger (Tom Cruise) to several stops
throughout the day. When Max figures out his fare is
really a hitman, and that the stops have been killings,
Max must find a way to save one last victim while trying
to save his own neck.
I asked Jamie how he got his role in the movie and he
responded, "Michael Mann, called me and asked me if
I wanted to do a movie with Tom Cruise, and I said
HELL YES!!! . -- he said but you haven't seen the script
yet, I said it doesn't matter, I love Tom Cruise."
"We met first on Jerry Maguire", interjected Cruise. "I
saw Jamie from Ray Charles to the taxi driver.
Collateral is very exciting" Cruise continued, "It is
intense, and funny with Jamie."
What was the funniest scene in the film to them,
Jamie quickly asserts, "Had to be the crash scene".
Cruise agrees with a loud laughter, as the two slap
FOXX continues, "I was supposed to just scrape the
side of the car and take the mirror. But instead of
hitting the break I hit the gas, my head hit the ceiling,
my face went up against the glass, and we turned
over. I looked down and my foot was on the
accelerator, and the car was upside down. I thought to
myself, man what have you done with Tom Cruise in
the car?..I asked Tom if he was wearing his seatbelt.
That line was not part of the script. And neither was the
crash. After I learned that Tom was okay, i was
laughing so hard, and he started laughing hard.....but
that's the take in the movie."
How taxing was the film, "We worked months on this
film", Tom Cruise responded. "We'd worked from
dusk to dawn, and even then we'd still be rocking and
rolling. I'd ask Jamie if he was ready to quit, and he'd
always respond"..."Hell No", Jamie Foxx takes over the
Clearly the pairing of Tom Cruise and Jamie Foxx has
garnered eternal friendship, as evidenced by the
comradeship this reporter witnessed between the two
men. "Yeah man, Tom is a real cool dude. I saw the
sound man accidentally cause broken glass to fall on
Tom. It was an accident, but I have worked with stars
no where close to Tom's status, and when mistakes
that big happen, I have seen them walk off the set, hot
and upset. Not Tom though. He was very composed
and empathetic about the whole ordeal. Like I said
man, Tom Cruise is a cool dude.
Just when you think the whole ordeal is
about to climax, - it ain't over until Tom
Cruise' character says its over.
(LtoR) Angelina Jolie as Franky, Jude Law as Sky
Captain and Gwyneth Paltrow as Polly in “Sky
Captain and the World of Tomorrow.” Courtesy of
And regarding that
grey hair Cruise is
sporting, "It's a wig",
came up with that
idea. The hair, the
look, the suit."
Sky Captain, swoops down in his P-40 Warhawk to save
the day, it's all real fascinating!
"The film is brilliant and complicated", Jude Law started
off the interview at the press conference called by
Paramount Pictures, in New York City to discuss the
making of this breathtaking SCI-FI motion picture with
"Sky Captain and the World of Tomorrow", open
nationwide only in theaters, Friday, September 17th.
Giovanni Ribisi as Dex in “Sky
Captain and the World of
Tomorrow.” Courtesy of
Actress Bail Ling, recently made a successful foray into
comedy, starring in Eddie Griffin's "My Baby's Daddy",
and Spike Lee's "She Hate Me", plays the mysterious
woman. "I like her. She is sexy, stylish. and you don't
know what she's going to do. Action speaks louder than
words." Ling said the most difficult about her character
was wearing the skintight suit. She told us, "That suit is
so tight. and it is very uncomfortable. I couldn't hear too
good in it either. Because of the action they'd call CUT
and I'd still be moving."
Jada Pinkett Smith portrays a potential love
interest for Foxx, but something sinister is
The film is engrossed with fear, since Foxx'
character is fearful, and Cruise character
is fearless, I asked Mr. Cruise what it is in
life that is his greatest fear. After a very
long pause, he ultimately responded "I
don't have any fears.", "And he ain't lying"
Jamie Foxx humorously ends our interview.
"Every element other than
the actors is a digital
producer Jon Avnet. He
continued, "apart from the
things that the actors
physically touch or pick up,
nothing else is there. Blue
screen cubes and blocks,
served as on-stage guides
for the actors, and were
later replaced in the
(LtoR) Producer Jon Avnet and
director Kerry Conran on the
set of “Sky Captain and the
World of Tomorrow.” Courtesy
of Paramount Pictures
computer with layers of compositing detail, which became
the sets, props and scenery. We bought the Wizard Of Oz
scene."Giovanni Ribisi who plays Dex Dearborn, said he
only had 3-days to learn his lines and reference Bette
Davis and Orson Wells films.
Gwyneth Paltrow who plays Polly Perkins said, "I gave her
everything. Polly is funny. I had to forget about the grief of
having lost my Dad during the filming. Polly is sassy,
stylish, brassy and ballsy. Things I like, but very much
unlike me. Polly is sexually charged and witty. She is fun."
One key character in the
film driving the plot is
Rosie, the mysterious
young woman Marco
meets on a train.
Having worked with
Demme when she
starred opposite Oprah
Winfrey in "Beloved",
Kimberly Elise said she
was ecstatic to land the
coveted role as the FBI
agent who gets involved