“Remember That Time” is a 10-part CBS interview series hosted by Alan Cumming at the iconic Sardi’s Restaurant in New York City. On the program, Cumming talks with guests about some of their most memorable career moments.
It’s not a series I’m familiar with; I just happened upon it today because I subscribe to CBS’s YouTube channel, and received an update alerting me to a new upload of “Remember That Time” featuring Rosie Perez. Naturally, I had to watch it.
In it, Perez talks about her early career days, getting her start on Soul Train as a dancer, leading up to being cast in Spike Lee’s “Do the Right Thing.” She spends most of the time talking about the latter – specifically how she essentially stumbled into being cast in the project: she went to a party during which Spike Lee was “having a butt contest to see which black women had the biggest asses” (likely for the music video for E.U.’s “Da Butt” song, which Spike commissioned for his 1988 movie “School Daze,” which came before “Do the Right Thing”) and she thought the contest was inappropriate and let Spike know to his face; and apparently, Spike loved her feistiness and asked her if she’d like to audition for “Do the Right Thing.” She wasn’t initially keen on the idea, because she wasn’t an actress, but she eventually warmed up to it and the rest is history.
She also talks about the memorable opening dance sequence to “Do the Right Thing” – that it too 8 hours to shoot, she and Spike disagreed on which takes to use (each for their individual reasons); but Spike had a plan, as you will hear her talk about it in the video.
And even if you learn absolutely nothing from the conversation, Rosie Perez is always fun to watch and listen to. And after you watch the Cumming interview, if you haven’t see it, you should check out the hour-long documentary “Making ‘Do the Right Thing'” which the late St. Claire Bourne directed, which tells the rest of the story: