The core representatives of two of the most critically acclaimed films of 2018 are set to team up in the ever-expanding (and always-spending) Netflix universe. As reported by Variety on February 12th, Black Panther actor Chadwick Boseman is in negotiations to star in BlackkKlansman director Spike Lee’s next film, titled Da 5 Bloods, which itself is in negotiations to be distributed by Netflix.
Adapted from a previous screenplay by Lee and BlackkKlansman co-scriptor Kevin Willmott, Da 5 Bloods will follow “Vietnam veterans who return to the jungle to find their lost innocence” and “search for the remains of a fellow soldier and hidden gold”.
An official announcement has yet to be made but the timing for such a potential merger couldn’t be better. Black Panther, of which Boseman is the figurehead, has been nominated for seven Academy Awards, including Best Picture. Joining Panther in the Best Picture race is Lee’s BlackkKlansman, for which Lee himself is nominated for producing, directing and co-writing. Add to that Netflix getting one of its own films nominated for the biggest prize, Alfonso Cuaron’s universally loved Roma, and you have three name brands at the top of the Hollywood food chain.
Lee, who seemed to be in the film wilderness the last ten years or so, making everything from sports documentaries, remakes of Korean films, WWII dramas, small indies, and music videos to little critical acclaim, stormed back with a vengeance in 2018, producing arguably his most relevant and impactful work in decades with BlackkKlansman, the true story of a black cop who finds his way into a membership with the Klu Klux Klan in the seventies.
Now, with three additional Oscar nominations added to his resume, Lee seems to have cart-blanche to do what he wants and Netflix is willing to pay. After spending close to $200 million on Martin Scorsese’s The Irishman, a project with another name director riding a career high and a universally beloved leading man seems like a worthy investment.
The remaining cast is either still in negotiations or the subject of rumor. Per Variety’s reporting, Jean Reno and Delroy Lindo are in talks to appear, while Jeff Sneider at Collider explains he heard rumblings of Lee veterans Samuel L Jackson, Giancarlo Esposito and Don Cheadle possibly joining the cast.
Just as I was excited for the re-teaming of DeNiro and Scorsese for their Netflix venture, the chance to see Spike Lee direct the new face of young, black actors is thrilling. And since Lee handled the period piece so well in BlackkKlansman (adding impressive social commentary on top of it to connect with today’s current events), a look at ’70s (or possibly ’80s) America through a political and socially conscious lens will be appointment viewing for me.