As reported in Billboard magazine, veteran director Spike Lee has announced that he is working on a Michael Jackson documentary to coincide with the 25th Anniversary of the singer’s BAD album. In an an interview conducted Monday, Lee revealed:
“We have footage in this documentary that no one’s ever seen, stuff that Michael shot himself, behind-the-scenes stuff…. We had complete access to the vaults of Michael Jackson. … He wrote 60 demos for the Bad record. Only 11 made it. So we got to hear a lot of that stuff, too, so it was just a great experience.”
Lee addied that ”You don’t have to be a Michael Jackson head to enjoy this” and describing the material at the film’s core as a “treasure chest of findings.” In addition to the archival material, Lee interviewed everyone from Kanye West to Mariah Carey to L.A. Reid to Sheryl Crow (who was Jackson’s background singer on the “Bad” tour).
“We really divided it into two things: Artists today who were influenced by Michael, and then people who worked side by side — musicians, songwriters, technicians, engineers, people at the label, who were all committed to Michael, to the follow-up to the biggest record of all time, which still isThriller.”
Though no firm date has been announced for the film according to a press release sent out today, the re-release of the album–a deluxe package featuring three CDs and 2 collectible booklets (as well as the first- ever authorized DVD release of the record breaking concert at Wembley Stadium on July 16, 1988, famously attended by Princess Diana) is set for September 18th. Lee’s annual tribute party to the pop legend, meanwhile, happens August 25th in Prospect Park, Brooklyn.
“This year we’re going to focus on the Bad album, we’re going to focus on the 25th anniversary, but at the same time we’re going to play his full catalog, including the Jackson 5 and the Jacksons,” he said. “It’s going to be even bigger and better this year.”
In another recent interview with NY Mag’s Vulture blog, Lee spoke on a broader range of subjects, including his new feature film Red Hook Summer, President Obama, the transformation of his beloved Brooklyn in recent years and of course the fortunes of his beloved Knicks. In one of the piece’s more memorable quotes he also spoke on the changed landscape in hollywood and the impossibility of making a movie like Malcolm X in the current climate:
Q: No offense, but I’m not sure you could get Malcolm X made today. Did you have more power then?
SL: I do not think the word is power. I think that it is a different climate today. I do not think Oliver Stone gets JFK made today. Unless they can make JFK fly. If they can’t make Malcolm X fly, with tights and a cape, it’s not happening. It is a whole different ball game. There was a mind-set back then where studios were satisfied to get a mild hit and were happy about it; it helped them build their catalogues. But people want films to make a billion dollars now, and they will spend $300 million to make that billion. They are just playing for high stakes, and if it is not for high stakes, they figure it is not worth their while.
Read the full interview here.