Spike Lee’s She’s Gotta Have It was the director’s first feature-length film, made on a budget of only $175,000 over the course of 12 days. After a successful premiere at Cannes that netted Lee the festival’s Award of the Youth, the movie went on to earn over $7 million in its domestic run.
Thirty years after She’s Gotta Have It hit theaters, Lee is returning to his roots with a series adaptation of the film on Netflix. The first teaser trailer debuted during the 2017 BET Awards, giving fans a quick glimpse of the new cast as well as a release date: Thanksgiving 2017.
As with the original film, the 10-episode Netflix series follows Nola Darling (played by DeWanda Wise) as she attempts to juggle her work, her friends and three lovers. According to a statement Lee made when the Netflix pickup was first announced, it was his wife (producer Tonya Lewis Lee) who first came up with the idea of adapting the movie to an episodic format:
“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.”
The adaptation was originally announced as a series for Showtime in 2014, but that never panned out and Netflix picked it up in September of last year. Lee is directing all 10 episodes of the first season.
This isn’t Lee’s first experience with streaming, of course. His most recent film, Chi-Raq, debuted on Amazon Video instead of taking the theatrical route that his films more commonly take. That film didn’t win the acclaim that some of his earlier films did, however, with opinions on it being fairly split. Perhaps a return to his roots via She’s Gotta Have It is just what Lee needs.
While it remains to be seen how well the series adaptation will sit with fans of the original, the 10-episode format will give Lee a chance to focus on his characters in a way he’s never done before. It will be interesting to see what Lee does with all of the extra screen time, letting things develop much more slowly than is possible in the rest of his joints.
Only time will tell, of course. Regardless, the series is an interesting way to celebrate the beginning of Lee’s 30-year feature film career.
She’s Gotta Have It season 1 debuts on Netflix on Thanksgiving.
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