Spike Lee is a provocateur by trade. Sure he makes films that lots of people watch and talk about, but many would argue that filmmaking has never been his strong suit. Bamboozled, Lee’s fascinating but hopelessly screwed up fantasy about a modern day minstrel show, supports their argument. That’s right, Lee’s films have always been hit and miss, so it’s by keeping us talking (and sometimes screaming at each other) that Lee pays for his Knicks season tickets and keeps those sneaker endorsements rolling in. Lee himself, however, is a man of few words, as the following short interview will attest.
Temple News: How would you introduce Bamboozled to a ninth grade
American History class?
Spike Lee: How would I? I’d say this is a sometimes humorous, sometimes entertaining,sometimes difficult film to watch. But it’s an important part of American History and of the legacy of the film and television industries.
TN: Is Bamboozled an early warning radar for network television?
SL: It’s been warned already … ‘A Face in the Crowd’ came out in 1957. That would be the first the film to talk about the power of TV, and images.
TN: What do you think the most provocative moment in the film is?
SL: There’s a bunch of them. But we take particular pride in the montage at the end of the movie. And also the end credit sequence too, where you see those black collectibles.
TN: What about creating the character of Pierre Delacroix (Damon Wayans) There are so many vocal affectations and mannerisms. Was it a collaborative process?
SL: Well, no, that was all Damon saying ‘Spike, I’m gonna try this out. What do you think about this?’ He had a couple of other voices before we finally decided upon… He had a cockney accent at first (laughter). Umm, no! But we finally arrived at what you see in the film, what you hear in the film.