I get offered to do stuff where the money's nice but it's not something I want to do - I get offered a lot of commercials too.
I respect the audience's intelligence a lot, and that's why I don't try to go for the lowest common denominator.
'Do the Right Thing' was my first union film. I looked at the rosters, and for the most part, it was white males. Especially the Teamsters. So we had some conversations.
Any time you talk about the look of the film, it's not just the director and the director of photography. You have to include the costume designer and the production designer.
My cousin Malcolm Lee is also a filmmaker.
We grew up in a very creative environment and were exposed to the arts at a very young age, so it's not a surprise that all of us are in some form of the arts.
I think my work shows that I love women. I understand where these types of criticisms are coming from because black people have been so dogged out in the media, they're just extra sensitive.
When I went to school, you had to take art, you had to play an instrument. You had to play an instrument. But it's all degraded since then. I do not know what kind of nation we are that is cutting art, music, and gym out of the public-school curriculum.
Since the days of slavery, if you were a good singer or dancer, it was your job to perform for the master after dinner.
I don't dictate, you don't dictate to Stevie Wonder, not successfully.
All directors are storytellers, so the motivation was to tell the story I wanted to tell. That's what I love.
'Do the Right Thing' was like the first film where I really felt comfortable working with actors.
'She's Gotta Have It' and 'School Daze,' I really didn't know what I was doing. And the biggest indicator of that was the acting. 'Do the Right Thing' was like the first film where I really felt comfortable working with actors.
I'm riding my man Obama. I think he's a visionary. Actually, Barack told me the first date he took Michelle to was 'Do the Right Thing.' I said, Thank God I made it. Otherwise you would have taken her to 'Soul Man.' Michelle would have been like 'What's wrong with this brother?'
I think it would be very boring dramatically to have a film where everybody was a lawyer or doctor and had no faults. To me, the most important thing is to be truthful.
Making films has got to be one of the hardest endeavors known to humankind.
I tend to favour films that have multiple plot and story lines, multiple characters and ensemble pieces.
I'm just trying to tell a good story and make thought-provoking, entertaining films. I just try and draw upon the great culture we have as a people, from music, novels, the streets.
A spine to my films that's become more evident to me is that many are about the choices people make, and the reverberations of those choices. You go this way, or that way, and either way, there's going to be consequences.
I live in New York City, the stories of my films take place in New York; I'm a New York filmmaker.