Legendary director Spike Lee is back to business with his latest film, Da Sweet Blood of Jesus.
The project, primarily funded through a Kickstarter campaign Lee launched in August 2013, tells the story of a man who becomes overwhelmed with a newfound thirst for blood.
British actress Zaraah Abrahams appears as the leading lady in Da Sweet Blood of Jesus, in what she calls “the role of a lifetime.”
In an interview with theGrio.com, Lee opened up about his decision to cast a British actor in the lead role of a “Spike Lee Joint.”
Watch Spike Lee discuss the black British ‘invasion’ below:
He discussed the growing trend of black British actors, specifically David Oyelowo, Carmen Ejogo, Lupita Nyong’o, Chewitel Ejiofor, Idris Elba, and Gugu Mbatha-Raw, taking on major roles in Hollywood films.
“They get their chops on stage, so their theatre game is tight,” Lee said of British actors. “Here in America, they’re not doing the work, you gotta put the work in. You gotta take class. Same thing with music. People do a music video and they think that means that they know how to perform onstage in front of a live audience; it’s two separate things.”
Lee has twice been included in the Oscar race. He received a nomination for Best Original Screenplay for Do the Right Thing in 1990 and Best Documentary Feature for 4 Little Girls in 1998.
He opened up about black actors and directors being shut out of this year’s Academy Award nominations.
“Here’s the message in my opinion. The message is not in the nominations, the message is in the diversity, the lack of diversity in the voting members for the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences,” Lee said. “I know we have a great president now, an African-American woman Cheryl Boone Issacs who is committed to get the numbers up. But that’s not something that’s going to be done right away. Even without the diversity, the Academy is very old. They need more diversity of age. They need some young-bloods in there.”
Da Sweet Blood of Jesus is now available on Vimeo on Demand and in limited theaters nationwide.