A photo of Spike Lee (via Sportsnaut)
Amazon Studios will give Spike Lee’s Chi-Raq, which updates the classical Greek comedy Lysistrata, an Oscar-qualifying theatrical run in December and an official opening after the new year, according to The Hollywood Reporter. This theatrical release will precede its streaming debut, in order to avoid a situation similar to major exhibitors’ boycott of Netflix’s Beasts of No Nation.
Teyonah Parris, who turned heads last year with her smart performance in Dear White People, leads the film as a woman who goes on a sex strike to protest black-on-black gun violence in Chicago. (The film’s title is nickname for Chicago that compares the Windy City to Iraq.) Also starring in Chi-Raq are Angela Bassett, Jennifer Hudson, Nick Cannon, John Cusack, Steve Harris, Samuel L. Jackson, Harry Lennix, Wesley Snipes, and D.B. Sweeney.
The original hope was for Chi-Raq to play at Cannes next year, but Lee and Amazon are bullish about its awards prospects this season, apparently. Despite recent endeavors perceived as shortcomings, Lee is a legendary director; his cast carries some Oscar pedigree; and the subject matter of the film bears relevance to ongoing violence in the United States. Chi-Raq could very well be the film that takes us by surprise this awards season.