Spike Lee has shared the first look at his upcoming Netflix film “Da 5 Bloods,” set to launch on the platform June 12, with Vanity Fair. The movie teams Lee with Chadwick Boseman, Jonathan Majors, Isiah Whitlock Jr., Delroy Lindo, and Clarke Peters, and centers on a group of African American Vietnam veterans who return to the country in search of the remains of their fallen leader, under the hope of possibly finding a buried treasure.
The first look in Vanity Fair reveals that the movie kicks off in 1968, as the five soldiers, while in the war-torn jungle of Vietnam, learn via radio broadcast that Martin Luther King Jr. has been assassinated in Memphis, Tennessee. The assassination forces the group to face just how willing they are to fight on behalf of a country that doesn’t appear to care if they live or die.
The haunting consequences of war and the elusive quest for buried treasure combines the dark soul of “Apocalypse Now” with the searching spirit of “The Treasure of the Sierra Madre,” and according to Lee, those aren’t the only films he’s paying homage to here.
“I’ve always given homages to films I love in my films,” said Lee. “I’m not being disrespectful to any Vietnam film that’s been made, except maybe The Green Berets with John Wayne, who is not a hero of mine.”
Lee also described the unexpected presence of President Trump in the movie, and via one of the film’s black characters, played by Delroy Lindo, who previously starred for Lee in “Clockers” and “Crooklyn.” His character Paul shocks his friends by revealing that, in the present day, he’s a MAGA hat-wearing Trump supporter. “It’s something that my mother taught me very early on,” Lee told Vanity Fair. “She’d say, ‘Spike, all black people ain’t the same. All black people don’t look alike, or think alike.’ So we’ve got this group, and I had to show some type of diversity amongst these African American men. They can’t be all alike — that’s not only stupid, it’s not dramatic. […] And there are a small minority of black folks who drank the orange Kool-Aid. To make him more dramatic, Paul is a MAGA-hat-wearing motherfucker.”
The film would’ve premiered Out of Competition at the 2020 Cannes Film Festival, now canceled, as revealed in a recent Screen Daily conversation with the fest’s director Thierry Frémaux. Lee was also set to head up the competition jury at this year’s Cannes, but alas, those days are done. For now.
Head over to Vanity Fair for more first-look photos of “Da 5 Bloods.”