Spike Lee turned to Kickstarter to raise money for his latest movie project — and now that he has surpassed his goal of $1.25 million, the director has turned to Broadway to cast the project’s first male lead actor.
Lee offered the role to Stephen Tyrone Williams, a young stage actor based in New York City.
“Ladies and Gentleman Mr. Stephen Tyrone Williams has been offered the Lead MALE Role in my New Spike Lee Joint,” Lee wrote on his Kickstarter page.
Williams made his Broadway debut in Nora Ephron’s Lucky Guy, which also stars Tom Hanks. Lee attended the opening night of the show and was impressed with the actor’s performance.
“Stephen’s performance as Abner Louima was haunting,” Lee says of Williams character in the play. “The Opening Night Audience held their collective captive breath as he retells the terror of being sodomized with a Billy Club by one of New York’s Finest.”
Lee was so blown away by William’s delivery, he stayed in touch in case there were a chance the two would have an opportunity to work together in the future.
“At the After Party, I found Stephen and told him how much I enjoyed his performance and God Willing One day we would be able to work together. Well, that day is here. Stephen Tyrone Williams is gonna do his THANG. And That’s The Bloody Truth Ruth,” Lee wrote.
Few details have been given about the Kickstarter production, but Lee writes that it could revolve around “human beings who are addicted to blood.” He says it’s “funny, sexy and bloody (and not a remake of Blacula).”
The offer was made just two weeks after Lee cast Zaraah Abrahams as the first lead role in the film. Lee stumbled across Abrahams after he watched her co-star in a film produced by one of his students.
“I tracked her down and Zarrah is even better than I thought,” Lee wrote on his Kickstarter page when the news first broke. “If I know anything, I know Young Talent. These are Individuals who have that special something, a true gift from God and they only need the platform, the vehicle to “SHOW DA WORLD” what they got.”
Follow Lilly Workneh on Twitter @Lilly_Works