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Spike Lee: ‘I’m Not Going to a Movie Theater’ Until There’s a Vaccine

"Corona is not playing," Lee says in a new interview. "You fuck around you’re going to get killed. I’m not ready to go.”

Spike Lee poses for photographers at the photo call for the film 'American Skin' at the 76th edition of the Venice Film Festival in Venice, ItalyFilm Festival 2019 American Skin Photo Call, Venice, Italy - 01 Sep 2019

Spike Lee

Joel C Ryan/Invision/AP/Shutterstock

Spike Lee spoke out in late April against movie theaters re-opening amid the coronavirus pandemic, and now the Oscar winner tells Vanity Fair he most likely will not be going to movie theaters until there is a vaccine for the virus being distributed. Lee is releasing his new film, the Vietnam War drama “Da 5 Bloods,” straight to Netflix on June 12. The director was supposed to begin production this summer on an adaptation of the graphic novel “Prince of Cats” for Legendary Pictures, but Lee told Vanity Fair he doesn’t see filming on any Hollywood production happening anytime soon.

“They ain’t doing a thing until the vaccine,” Lee said. “I know I’m not going to a movie theater. I know I’m not going to a Broadway show. I know I’m not going to Yankee Stadium. Corona is a bitch. Corona is not playing. You fuck around you’re going to get killed, you’re going to die. I’m not ready to go.”

Lee continued by saying he has yet to “see a feasible solution” as to how to make productions safe enough to resume filming. The filmmaker added, “How are you going to do a love scene anymore, or an intimate scene? I mean, are you going to do a movie by remote, like ‘Saturday Night Live’? I don’t know how you do that. So, we’re on pause now.”

Production on “Prince of Cats” was to begin this summer in Brooklyn but Lee said he will not be rolling cameras so quickly. Lee refers to his next movie as “Romeo and Juliet during the age of hip-hop.” The director was set to serve as the president of the competition jury at the 2020 Cannes Film Festival before the event was canceled. Lee is expected to assume the position for the 2021 festival, although it seems Lee traveling will depend on the existence of a vaccine.

Lee’s resistance to going to movie theaters in the midst of the pandemic is shared by moviegoers across the country. A Reuters poll published by Variety at the end of April surveyed 4,429 American adults and found that just 40% of them were willing to go to movie theaters and/or concerts. Movie theaters in top markets such as Los Angeles and New York have yet to announce re-opening dates.

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