Despite what some gibbering blowhards might tell you on twitter dot com, you should really stay the heck inside right now. I know it’s inconvenient, I know it’s frustrating, I know everyone just wants this to be over. I get it! But for now, please – stay inside. And if you need something to occupy your time indoors,Spike Lee is here to help. The filmmaker decided to do the right thing and help quarantined folks by uploading his unmade Jackie Robinson script for all to read. Inside. Where it’s safe.
In an attempt to help encourage people stay the hell in their damn house during a pandemic, Spike Lee uploaded his unproduced Jackie Robinson script online. I know that technically you could take this script, download it onto your phone, and go read it in a public park or something. But don’t. Instead, stay in and look at what could’ve been.
In an Instagram post, Lee wrote:
I Dug Deep Into Da 40 Acres Vault And Pulled Out This Script From One Of My EPIC Dream Never Got Made Projects-JACKIE ROBINSON. You Do Not Have To Be A Baseball Fan To Enjoy. This Script Is A Great American Story. Be Safe. Peace,Light And Love. And Dat’s Da “Brooklyn Dodger”Truth, Ruth. YA-DIG? SHO-NUFF
The script is dated 1996, and is adapted from I Never Had It Made: An Autobiography of Jackie Robinson, and chronicles the legendary baseball player who broke the color barrier. Lee intended to reunite with Malcolm X lead Denzel Washington to make the film, but Washington ultimately decided he was too old for the part. Sadly, Lee didn’t then try to find a new leading man, and the project fell by the wayside. Word of the Lee project first popped-up in 1995 in Variety, included in a list of recently greenlit projects with the following description:
Jackie Robinson, directed by Lee and starring Washington. Pic is about the legendary ballplayer who broke the color barrier in the major leagues. It will have a 1997 release to coincide with the 50th anniversary of Robinson’s achievement.
Fun side-note: another greenlit project mentioned in the Variety: “The Jetsons,” based on the 1960s cartoon series, helmed by Chuck Russell The Mask and written by Scott Alexander and Larry Karaszewski Ed Wood. Pic will start in mid-1996 for a 1997 release.” Obviously…that didn’t happen, either.
Robinson’s story was ultimately told in the 2013 film 42, starring Chadwick Boseman as Robinson. In biopic fashion, Lee’s script starts with Robinson in old age – blind in one eye and recollecting his glory days. From there it jumps back in time to tell his story over the course of 159 pages. You can read the full script right here. And again: Please do so from the safety of your own home.
With the Academy Museum finally, finally set to open to the public on December 14, eight years since the project was first announced, the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences has lined up a new group of world-class talent to contribute to the museum’s programming. Spike Lee and Pedro Almodóvar are among recently announced filmmakers who will curate exhibits for the Academy Museum, with more directors to come, AMPAS said on Saturday. Specific details on the exhibits have yet to be announced.
“Joker” composer Hildur Guðnadóttir, the first woman ever to win the Best Original Score Academy Award, will also collaborate on new exhibits. So will veteran sound-effects whiz Ben Burtt, an editor and Oscar winner on the original “Star Wars,” “Raiders of the Lost Ark,” “E.T. The Extra-Terrestrial,” and “Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade.”
“We will open the Academy Museum with exhibitions and programs that will illuminate the complex and fascinating world of cinema — its art, technology, artists, history, and social impact — through a variety of diverse and engaging voices,” Academy Museum director Bill Kramer said in a statement. “We will tell complete stories of moviemaking — celebratory, educational, and sometimes critical and uncomfortable. Global in outlook and grounded in the unparalleled collections and expertise of the Academy, these first exhibitions will establish this museum as incomparable in the world of cinema.”
Kramer also acknowledged that the Academy is moving full speed ahead, despite the current challenges of the pandemic, in hopes of a light at the end of the tunnel. “We are keenly aware that we're working towards the opening of the Academy Museum during a time of great challenge. Over the past century, motion pictures have reflected and impacted major historical issues and events. The stories we tell in the Academy Museum are part of those bigger stories, and we are committed to highlighting the social impact of motion pictures. We look forward to brighter days for everyone, everywhere,” he said.
With three stories and 50,000 square feet of gallery space, the Academy Museum at the corner of Wilshire Boulevard and Fairfax Avenue in Los Angeles already has several planned exhibitions, including a focus on films from Hayao Miyazaki’s Studio Ghibli. With the help of Leonardo DiCaprio, the museum was able to obtain a pair of the ruby slippers from “The Wizard of Oz,” which will be on display.
Read IndieWire’s report on the latest developments at the Academy Museum from Anne Thompson here.