Each new day, it seems like, Netflix inches closer and closer to total television domination when it comes to landing hot new projects. The latest laurel in their crown? An episodic adaptation of Spike Lee’s debut film, SHE’S GOTTA HAVE IT. Released 30 years ago, Lee’s film is a love quadrangle between the lovely Nola Darling (played by Tracy Camilla Johns) and the three men who would lay claim to her heart, Jamie Overstreet (Tommy Redmond Hicks), Greer Childs (John Canada Terrell) and the unforgettable Mars Blackmon (played by Lee). It announced Lee as a major new voice in American independent filmmaking and introduced mainstream moviegoers to their first real experience with African-American cinema.
For the last two years, the series has been in development over at Showtime, but when that deal fell through the streaming giant swept in and saved the day. In an official release Lee, who is directing all episodes and executive producing alongside his wife Tonya Lewis Lee, had this to say about the new direction the project has taken:
“We Are Getting An Opportunity To Revisit These Memorable Characters Who Will Still Be Relevant And Avant Garde 3 Decades Later. With All That Said It Was My Wife, Tonya Lewis Lee, Producer In Her Own Right, Who Had The Vision To Take My Film From The Big Screen And Turn It Into An Episodic Series…We Are Hyped That NETFLIX Is Onboard With This Vision As Nola Darling, Mars Blackmon, Jamie Overstreet And Greer Childs DO DA DAMN THANG Now, Today In Da Republic Of Brooklyn, New York.”
While he’s name checking all the film’s major characters, it had been previously announced that this would be, of course, a reboot of the original rather than a modern-day continuation, and that makes sense on a couple of levels. Of the original cast, Jones hasn’t acted since Lee’s RED HOOK SUMMER in 2012, and before that her last job was a bit role in 1991’s NEW JACK CITY; Hicks has worked somewhat steadily, mostly in TV; Terrell about the same although more in film; and Lee himself had a bit role also in RED HOOK SUMMER, but other than that he’s been absent as an actor in his own films since the 90s. It wouldn’t surprise me to see some cameos or small supporting roles for the original actors, though honestly, the idea of anyone other than Lee playing Mars Blackmon rubs my 80s nostalgia the wrong way. However, at the same time my faith is strong because if anyone can pick a proper substitute for Spike, it’s Spike.
This is definitely a series to add to your long-term watchlist. Lee has worked in television before, but only as a documentarian. I for one am dying to see the kind of story he can tell spread out over 10 or so hours.
No production or release dates have been announced, giving you plenty of time to check out the source material again.