ANN ARBOR (WWJ) – It was a big night for the Cinetopia Film Festival in Ann Arbor, as a big Hollywood director dropped by to celebrate the anniversary of the movie that put him on the map.
Director Spike Lee spent over an hour answering questions from the crowd at the Michigan Theatre after the showing of his film “Do The Right Thing” on Friday night. This year marks the film’s 25th anniversary.
Refusing to be recorded on tape, Lee told WWJ’s Sandra McNeill his movie foreshadows all the changes in Brooklyn, the gentrification that has completely changed the culture. Lee said he originally wanted the lead role, played by Danny Aiello, to go to Robert De Niro, but De Niro turned him down.
Lee said Hollywood has changed so much, his groundbreaking film probably wouldn’t get made today because the industry is too obsessed with huge money-makers.
Lee also bemoaned the fact that the Oscar winner in 1989 was “Driving Miss Daisy,” saying his effort was still a great movie.
On Detroit, Lee said he tried to make a movie about Joe Louis but he couldn’t get the financing.
The Cinetopia Film Festival runs through Sunday in Detroit and Ann Arbor.