Let the speculation begin…
Spike Lee and Netflix have teamed up to develop a TV series based on Spike’s feature film debut, “She’s Gotta Have It.” Details on the adaptation (for example, whether it’ll tell the exact same story the film did, with the same characters, as well as who Spike might be considering for his cast, etc) weren’t made public at the time of the announcement 3 weeks ago, and remain underwraps.
What we do know for sure is that it’ll be a half-hour TV series based on Lee’s film, which, by the way, celebrates its 30th year in release this year (it initially opened on August 8, 1986).
Netflix has ordered a 10-episode series which Spike will also direct and serve as an executive producer, along with his producer-wife Tonya Lewis Lee.
In a statement from Spike Lee about the Netflix pickup, he said the following:
“SHE’S GOTTA HAVE IT Has A Very Special Place In My Heart. We Shot This Film In 12 Days (2 Six Day Weeks) Way Back In The Back Back Of The Hot Summer Of 1985 For A Mere Total of $175,000. Funds That We Begged, Borrowed and Whatnot To Get That Money. This Is The 1st Official Spike Lee Feature Film Joint And Everything That We Have Been Blessed With In This Tough Business Of Film All Have Been Due To SGHI. Now With The Passing (August 8th) Of The 30th Anniversary, It’s A Gift That Keeps On Giving. We Are Getting An Opportunity To Revisit These Memorable Characters Who Will Still Be Relevant And Avant Garde 3 Decades Later. With All That Said It Was My Wife, Tonya Lewis Lee, Producer In Her Own Right,Who Had The Vision To Take My Film From The Big Screen And Turn It Into An Episodic Series. It Had Not Occurred To Me At All. Tonya Saw It Plain As Day. I Didn’t. We Are Hyped That NETFLIX Is Onboard With This Vision As Nola Darling, Mars Blackmon, Jamie Overstreet And Greer Childs DO DA DAMN THANG Now, Today In Da Republic Of Brooklyn, New York.”
In the case of who will be cast to play the lead in the series, this could very well be a career changer for the actress Spike Lee selects to play Nola Darling; especially if she’s an up-and-comer, or an entirely new face, instead of an already established actress. And frankly, I hope he goes with a fresh face.
Nola Darling is the young, self-assured Brooklynite, juggling 3 very different boyfriends, who, maybe, if collected into one body, will represent her ideal mate. But Nola doesn’t want to commit to any of her men, cherishing her personal freedom, even as their relationships with Nola grow, and each man wants her for himself.
So what actress (likely between the ages of 25 and 35) do you think can exude Nola’s complexities?
Spike Lee did say, 20+ years ago, that he wrote the film with Tracy Camila Johns in mind as Nola. So, as I previously suggested, one can only assume that, in adapting the film into a Netflix series, he may have already had an actress in mind for the part. In fact, as I added, I wouldn’t at all be surprised if he’d already approached her (whoever she is) about it, before the announcement of the Netflix pickup was even made – especially with filming already apparently underway (October 7 was day one, according to another post on Spike’s Instagram page), per the casting call that was published on this blog over a week ago.
Of course there are also the 3 men in her life, assuming the story remains the same, except set in the present-day: Mars Blackmon, Jamie Overstreet and Greer Childs; roles for 3 (black?) actors to play.
On the heels of the New York open casting call, the first announced cast attachment came in the form of “Hamilton” actor Anthony Ramos. The Puerto Rican actor, who originated the roles of John Laurens and Philip Hamilton, Alexander Hamilton’s eldest son, in the Broadway musical “Hamilton,” last year, has been cast to play “da original b-boy” sneakerhead himself, Mars Blackmon – the role Spike Lee played in the 1986 movie.
Per the release, Blackmon is still a sneakerhead in the series, who still wears Air Jordans, but he has taken his b-boy-ness to the web, as a social-media phenomenon.
As for the rest of the cast, this morning, Spike Lee shared the below photo on his Instagram page with the caption: “SHE’S GOTTA HAVE IT Cast And Writers Dinner Last Night At Da SOHO House. Thank You Tara, Layne And Aja -Netflix Black Gurl Magic.”
Unfortunately, he didn’t identify any of the actors in the photo, and what roles they will be playing. With filming underway, I assume this photo includes the entire starring/key cast and writing staff, but one can only obviously speculate. Not every person shown here may be a cast member or writer. And, there might be cast members and writers not in the photo.
So this is all just speculation on my part. But it’s fun, isn’t it? So let’s see what we can say with some certainty.
Those that I can identify are Santana Caress Benitez (far left, standing, rear row), Alano Miller (third from the left in the rear), Joie Lee & Cinqué Lee (Spike’s siblings, who I assume are writers on the series, but they also act, so they may be cast members as well; Joie is 5th from the left in the rear, and Cinqué is 2nd from the left in the front row, seated), Lemon Andersen (seated in the front row, next to Cinqué – on his right), Ilfenesh Hadera (standing, far right), Anthony Ramos (2nd from the right, in the second row, seated), and next to him (on his right), I believe that’s DeWanda Wise (who is married to Alano Miller, by the way; so both of them, or maybe just one of them might be in the series, and the other is there for support)!
As for what characters the actors are each playing, at this point, all we know with certainty is that Anthony Ramos is Mars Blackmon, as was previously announced.
So I need your help here folks, in identifying the other talents (cast and writers) you see in the below photo. I’m sure an official casting announcement is going to made soon enough, and once that happens, I’ll update this post. Until then, feel free to join me in some fun speculating…
Check out the photo Spike shared on Instagram this morning, below: