If you were still bummed about ‘The Get Down’ being cancelled…
A new Spike Lee Joint is coming soon, but this time not as a film. Good news for any Lee follower, the 60-year-old Brooklynite has released the teaser for his upcoming Netflix series, She’s Gotta Have It, a revamp of his feature debut of the same name (watch it above). Both Lee and his wife, Tonya Lewis Lee, are credited as executive producers on the 10-episode redo, and though the teaser gives little information besides the release date, Thanksgiving Day, it pays tribute to Lee’s hallmark style of jazz music and bright colors.
Here’s what you need to know about the project:
When She’s Gotta Have It first premiered in theaters in 1986, the world was unfamiliar with the idea of an open, sexually liberated female protagonist. Although it’s becoming the topic of newer films such as Trainwreck, viewers at the time were fascinated with the rare subject matter. Notably better, She’s Gotta Have It delivers a powerful, complex story with flawed, relatable characters.
Noyla Darling, the main character of this joint, is a twenty-something-year-old artist, juggling three lovers whilst trying to deter the advances of a female friend. Noyla’s most serious lover, Jamie Overstreet, is protective and passionate, while her second, Greer Childs, is a self-involved, moody male model. Mars Blackmon, played by Lee, is her third lover, a quick-witted, sneakerhead playboy.
Although enjoying them all, Noyla can not find in herself the desire to commit to one solely, which in turn creates turmoil in all three relationships. When writing this film, Lee wanted to expand on the complexity of both males and females and depict the overall growth in gainsay of societal norms. While aiming to create an unorthodox comedy about female sexuality, Lee was also working to deliver an even bigger message.
“It’s rare enough that black people are seen in films, but even when we are, it’s always in stereotypical roles of making people laugh, or as singers and dancers,” Lee explains in a 1986 interview with New York Times.
“The difference between this film and The Color Purple is that even though there are some dog black men in this film, you can tell there is a difference,” he adds. “This film was not done with hate, and none of the men here are one-note animals, like Mister was in The Color Purple.”
The She’s Gotta Have It series will double the cast members through the addition of characters new characters: Shemekka Epps, Cherly Overstreet, and Rachel. It’s also tripling the production value, surely making it a force to be reckoned with. One can only wonder how Lee will use these expansions to recreate a classic that was already ahead of its time. Besides the change in the size of the ensemble, he has also switched the race of Mars, who will now be portrayed by Puerto Rican actor Anthony Ramos.
Although that change is significant, it’s not even the largest switcharoo expected, considering the rape scene involving Noyla and Jamie will be removed altogether. At the time of the film, Lee was trying to depict Jamie as jealous and angry but instead, through unclear writing or directing, the viewer is left feeling like Noyla is illustrated as bearing the blame.
Just as some viewers felt in 1987, Lee now finds the inclusion of an assault as “stupid” and “immature.” In a 2014 interview with Deadline Hollywood he says, “I can promise you, there will be nothing like that in She’s Gotta Have It the TV show, that’s for sure.”
Let the confetti fall down.
She’s Gotta Have It will not be Lee’s first collaboration with Netflix. He also directed the one-man show Rodney King, which premiered on the service in April.
In addition to the show, there’s also talk of a restored copy of She’s Gotta Have It being re-released in theaters for a limited time, with a new Blu-ray due in the fall. The Netflix series will premiere soon after that, on November 23rd. There’s much to look forward to, and I don’t know about you guys but I’m stoked.