Movies · TV

Netflix Gets a Spike Lee Joint

By  · Published on September 16th, 2016

She’s Gotta Have It is being remade, by Lee, as a Netflix series.

The film that catapulted Spike Lee to filmmaking fame was his first-ever feature film, She’s Gotta Have It. Known for his political themes and films focusing on communities and characters of color, Spike Lee has been extremely well received as an auteur director over his thirty year long career. This makes the news that She’s Gotta Have It is getting the remake treatment – as a Netflix-produced TV series, no less – even more exciting.

Lee’s first film, She’s Gotta Have It was released in August of 1986. It was filmed over the course of twelve days in Fort Greene, Brooklyn. The production had a budget of just $185,000. Spike Lee wrote, directed, produced, edited, and starred in the film in a supporting role. The film’s music was composed and performed by Bill Lee, Spike’s father. Despite the project’s low budget, it went on to make over $7 million at the box office.

She’s Gotta Have It follows the story of young, beautiful, and sexually liberated twenty-something Nola Darling. Nola is a Brooklynite who takes her sexual independence very seriously. The bulk of the plot’s conflict is centered around the fact that she is juggling three different men with whom she is engaged in a romantic-sexual relations. The film’s themes focus quite heavily on whether or not monogamy is a natural or societally imposed framework. Quite the sexually explicit film, the director’s cut of She’s Gotta Have It, released in the mid-1990s on laserdisc, was rated NC-17.

A few years ago, Spike Lee announced the production of a TV series based on his original film. At the time, the show was intended to be produced and released on the premium cable network Showtime. Things fell through with that network and Netflix announced the acquisition only a month after the film’s thirtieth anniversary. Spike Lee will direct all of the first season’s ten episodes. He will also act as executive producer with his wife, Tonya Lewis Lee.

Speaking about the transformation of She’s Gotta Have It from low-budget film to high-budget television back in 2014, Spike Lee shed some light as to why he chose this film from his filmography to make a serial remake. He said that the biggest regret of his career was including the rape scene in She’s Gotta Have It: “If I was able to have any do-overs, that would be it. It was just totally…stupid. I was immature. It made light of rape, and that’s the one thing I would take back. I was immature and I hate that I did not view rape as the vile act that it is. I can promise you, there will nothing like that in She’s Gotta Have It the TV show, for sure.”

As a very big fan of Spike Lee’s work, I’m so comforted to hear that the now-infamous rape scene from She’s Gotta Have It will have no place in this new show. I am also comforted to know that the show will be released on Netflix and have the capacity to reach a much larger fan base. This is one Spike Lee joint you don’t want to miss, and that’s the truth, Ruth.

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