Well, Spike Lee and I have had a complicated relationship over the years. As much as I have always respected his films, I haven't always agreed with him. But, unlike a lot of directors, at least he always has something to say. BlackFilm.com is hosting the first image from Lee's Miracle at St. Anna. The script focuses on the "tale of four members of the U.S. army's 92nd division of all-black soldiers, who in 1944 became trapped in a Tuscan village, as they contended with their racist, incompetent commanders and the Nazis".
Based on the novel by James McBride, the story centers on the massacre of Sant'Anna di Stazzema. On August 12, 1944, retreating SS-men rounded up 560 villagers and refugees (mostly women, children and the elderly) shot them and then burned the bodies. McBride adapted his own novel for the screen and the cast includes John Turturro, James Gandolfini, Derek Luke (Antwone Fisher) -- who is replacing the tax-plagued Wesley Snipes, and Laz Alonso.
The project had a rocky start when Lee's comments about the treatment of African-American veterans in film caused a bit of a press frenzy. Shooting began back in October on location in Tuscany and Lee is also planning to shoot in Rome, New York, and Nassau, Bahamas. Surprisingly, Miracle has yet to find a studio, but Lee is planning on a 2009 release, so I would expect to hear something soon. It just goes to show you the sorry state of the industry when somebody like Michael Bay has no trouble setting up a studio for whatever crap-fest he has planned next, and yet one of the greatest American directors struggles to secure a deal. How depressing is that?