Spike Lee is adding a new installment to his “Chronicles of Brooklyn” series, Red Hook Summer. This chapter tells the story of Flik Royale, a young boy from Atlanta who is sent to spend the summer with his deeply religious grandfather in Red Hook. However, it’s more than just a summer tale: Lee explores religion, gun violence, technology, culture and abuse among other controversial topics through Flik’s more or less innocent eyes. Life + Times sat down with Lee to discuss the film.
L+T: This is the sixth installment in your “Chronicles of Brooklyn” series, with Red Hook being the featured neighborhood. Did Carmelo Anthony becoming a member of the New York Knicks serve as an inspiration for you to explore Red Hook?
Spike: Yeah, because it was crazy. The Knicks make the trade for Carmelo. He signs a deal for Boost Mobile. The guy I know that works there calls me up and says, “we’re going to do a short film on Carmelo that we’re going to put on the Internet.” I said, “fine.” And I remember Carmelo being from Red Hook so I say, “let’s do this: We start at the [Madison Square] Garden. We get in the car. You talk about growing up, your whole life. And then we get out at Red Hook and you greet the people there.” And so, as I said before, James McBride grew up in Red Hook. Red Hook is a very strange neighborhood. Very strange. So all those elements combined dictated where this next chapter of my “Brooklyn Chronicles” should take place.
L+T: One issue that you’ve always addressed in your films is gun violence. With the recent tragic events in Aurora, Colorado and Wisconsin, do you think gun control will be a big topic in this coming election?
Spike: Well, I hope so. These guns are out of control. Out of control. People get fed up, man. And in the inner city, if you look at New York, you look at Chicago, New Orleans; it’s young brothers killing young brothers. And when they aren’t shooting straight they’re killing innocent people. We got to stop that.
Read the entire L+T interview and check out the trailer for Red Hook Summer below.