November 10, 2000 -- At a Harvard panel on race on Monday, Spike Lee criticized Will Smith for agreeing to play a mystical caddy to Matt Damon's golden boy in The Legend of Bagger Vance.
According to the New York Post, Lee referred to the movie as "Driving Mr. Damon" for painting such a pretty picture of racial relations in the Depression-era South.
In real life, black men were being "castrated and lynched left and right," the Boston Globe quotes Lee as saying. "With all that going on, why are you [expletive] trying to teach Matt Damon a golf swing?"
Could it be that Lee is still miffed that Smith chose to back Michael Mann, instead of Lee, as the director for Ali?
Smith told Mr. Showbiz in a recent interview that he couldn't initially get past the "Yes, sirs" his character had to say in the script, but finally decided that the role and the story were intriguing enough for him to commit. The Robert Redford movie has so far seen so-so reviews and middling box-office business.
Lee made similar criticisms earlier of The Patriot, which he accused of "whitewashing … history," saying that the Revolutionary War flick "dodged around, skirted about, or completely ignored slavery."
Those who have met with Lee's wrath before include Quentin Tarantino (for liberal use of the word "nigger" in Pulp Fiction) and "Show me the money" Oscar winner Cuba Gooding Jr. (who is parodied in Lee's film Bamboozled).