Spike Lee and John Cusack vent their anger at gun crime in Chicago as they promote 'Chi-raq' - a reinvention of Ancient Greek comedy 'Lysistrata'. Rough Cut - no reporter narration.
ROUGH CUT (NO REPORTER NARRATION) When it was announced that Spike Lee's new film about gun violence in Chicago was to be called "Chi-raq", local politicians criticized the "Do the Right Thing" director for the title. "Chi-raq" is street slang that compares the nation's third largest city to the war zones of the Middle East. The film's trailer begins with the statement that "Homicides in Chicago, Illinois have surpassed the deathtoll of American special forces in Iraq." According to the film's press notes, "In the first 10 months of 2015, more than 2,500 people had been shot in Chicago. The same period saw 430 homicides." The film is an adaptation of the Ancient Greek comedy 'Lysistrata' by Aristophanes in which the titular character rouses the women of every Greek state to stop the Peloponnesian War by going on a sex strike. Spike Lee's film retains the lead character of Lysistrata and also the poetry of the original, but this time her goal is to persuade rival gangs to lay down their guns in Chicago and beyond by using the same technique. Spike Lee also has high hopes that the film, which is Amazon Studios' first original movie, will also make a difference. John Cusack plays preacher Father Mike Corridan. During one scene, he makes an emotional speech at the funeral of a young girl killed in crossfire about the ongoing violence and why it is not being addressed. Teyonah Parris who plays Lysistrata hopes that at least the film will put a spotlight on the issue. "Chi-raq" goes on release in theaters from December 3rd. Following its New York premiere on Tuesday (December 1st), Spike Lee will lead a protest march from the premiere at Ziegfeld Theater to Duffy Square.