Spike Lee, Chris Rock Spar at Sundance

Jan 25, 2012 9:12am
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Spike Lee. (Credit: Anna Webber/Getty Images)

PARK CITY, Utah — You can’t really blame them. If you were at the adult equivalent of ski camp, with open bars, 4 a.m. parties and swag suites galore, would you be on your best behavior? Probably not. James Mardsen yelled at security at the Salt Lake City airport. Paris Hilton lost her phone at a party.

And then there was Spike Lee and Chris Rock. Rock stood up at the Sundance Film Festival’s Sunday premiere of Lee’s “Red Hook Summer” and asked what the polarizing director would have done if he had studio money to make the film about a pedophile priest. Lee financed it with $1 million of his own money — Rock wanted to know if Lee would have “blown up the church” and made a more outrageous pic if he had $20 million or so to spend. Lee’s response: “Thank you, Chris.” And then he moved on.

Lee played down the exchange Monday on ABC News Now’s “Popcorn with Peter Travers.” “They don’t want to make this stuff,” he said in reference to major motion picture studios, “which is why you come to Sundance. I made the correct decision to not ever mess with the studio. I made it with my money the way I want to make it.”

He also took a hit at “Red Tails” director George Lucas, whose film about the Tuskegee Airmen, the all black World War II fighter squad, scored $20 million over the weekend.

“It’s a shame, there are few and far between films that are made for people of color,” he said. “It’s better when George Lucas says it for ‘Red Tails’ but I’ve been saying it for years. I don’t care who says it.”

When asked to name the whitest film he’d ever seen, Lee declined, saying he didn’t “want to make any more headlines.”

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