BREAKING: Spike Lee, one of the stalwarts of New York filmmakers who helped put modern indie filmmaking on the map, has signed with ICM Partners. The move comes less than two weeks after his agent Billy Hawkins exited CAA, and ICM has just made the signing known to staffers. The agency jump comes 25 years after the release of Do The Right Thing, the Lee “joint” that landed Oscar nominations for Original Screenplay and put the helmer on the path to such vital films as Jungle Fever, Mo’ Better Blues and Malcolm X, which drew two more Oscar nominations. The move marks a return to the ICM fold, his home before moving to CAA.
Lee is as busy as ever now, and is in postproduction on Da Sweet Blood Of Jesus, a vampire pic for which he raised money via Kickstarter. His fundraising efforts on the site drew almost $1.3 million — and like the old days he pounded the pavement for the project, including appearances on CNN and CNBC to promote his campaign, saying, “I’m bringing people to Kickstarter who never even heard of Kickstarter.” He’s also working on another feature docu after successes in the genre with pics like 2006’s Hurricane Katrina tale When The Levees Broke. He also is at work on the docu Go, Brazil, Go, about that country’s economic rise. (Lee was nominated for his second Oscar in 1998 for the documentary feature 4 Little Girls.)
His latest couple of feature films didn’t score big at the box office; November release Oldboy proved how tough it is to remake such a specific story as South Korean helmer Park Chan-wook’s suspense thriller that had become a cult classic. Miracle At St. Anna in 2008 was another box office miss, but before that was the hit Inside Man — so I’d like to think he’s got plenty more great movies yet to make. Lee’s most recent work shows his diversity: the HBO docu Mike Tyson: Undisputed Truth, Sundance 2012 pic Red Hook Summer, the Michael Jackson docu Bad 25, Levees follow-up If God’s Willing And The Creek Don’t Rise and Kobe Doin’ Work about the Lakers great.
Lee also is an author, professor and teamed with DDB Needham to create Spike/DDB, a full-service advertising agency.