It’s been over 50 years since the Broadway hit, Porgy and Bess, was last adapted for the silver screen. In 1959, Otto Preminger helmed a production which paired Dorothy Dandridge and Sidney Poitier in the title roles, and it’s become the definitive movie version of the story, which is ultimately based on a 1925 novel, Porgy, by Dubose Heyward. Though the show has been produced for the stage in different incarnations over the years (most recently last year with Audra McDonald, who won a Tony for her portrayal of Bess), it hasn’t been successfully attempted again for the big screen.

Enter Spike Lee, who recently told Indiewire that he’s been in talks with the Gershwin and Heyward estates for years to adapt the story again for film:

“There have been musical elements in my films, but I’ve been wanting to do a straight up musical for many, many years,” he said.

This isn’t Lee’s first foray into adapting stage productions. A few years back, he adapted the critically acclaimed musical Passing Strange for the big screen. He’s also directed Mike Tyson’s one-man Broadway show, Undisputed Truth. Clearly, Lee’s been bitten by the stage bug. He also recently revealed that he’s interested in adapting his iconic 1989 film, Do the Right Thing, for the stage.

It’s great to see that the auteur isn’t letting the grass grow under his feet. All this news comes on the heels his next film Red Hook Summer’s wide release. In it, Lee reprises his one of his most memorable onscreen performances as Mookie in Do the Right Thing. Perhaps this is what rekindled his interest in revisiting the film for adaptation.

What do you think of either idea? Would you see a Spike Lee-directed Porgy and Bess? Does a Broadway incarnation of Do the Right Thing sound like a good idea? What other Spike Lee film do you think deserves a redo?

Tags: ,
Like Us On Facebook Follow Us On Twitter