Jesus Shuttlesworth just may be returning to the big screen in the future - if Spike Lee has his way.
The filmmaker addressed rumors, which began circulating last month, that a sequel to his 1998 drama He Got Game is in the works - rumors that were fueled by Ray Allen (the NBA star who also starred in Spike's film), when he shared, before a game last month, that he and Spike had been talking about a sequel in previous recent months, tossing story ideas back and forth.
''Sequels to most movies are always fluff and not as good as the first,'' Allen said before the January 7th game between the Miami Heat (the team he plays for) and the New Orleans Pelicans. ''But it's something we've been talking about for the last couple months. If we get a really good story line and are able to bring everybody back, then it would be something worth doing.''
I should note that, last summer, Spike did share a photo of himself and Allen on his Instagram page, with a caption saying then that they were chatting about a sequel, although it wasn't clear whether he was being serious or just teasing.
Skip ahead to a new interview Spike gave to The Stashed while on the red carpet, before the NBA All-Star game last weekend, in which he shared that he's essentially committed to making it happen, with Denzel Washington being the sole key hold-out.
“It’s not really a rumor anymore... We’ve just got to get it. Ray [Allen] wants to do it, I want to do it, Lala… I mean Rosario [Dawson] want’s to do it. We’ve just got to get Denzel [Washington] on board and I’ll write the script.”
As for who he'll cast to play Jesus Shuttlesworth's son, Spike shared:
“I haven’t picked anyone [to play Jesus' son] yet, but every player in the league…every time I’m in the garden sitting in my seat they are like ‘yo, Spike come see me, come see me!”
In the first film. Denzel Washington played Jesus' (Allen's) father, a prisoner who was paroled for one week to persuade his son to sign with the governor's alma mater, and Rosario Dawson played his girlfriend.
''Not one day goes by where I walk in here and guys don't say that they didn't watch it last night or it wasn't on,'' Allen said last month. ''I don't know who's in charge of delegating what gets on TV, but it seems like that movie's been on a lot the last two or three months. [...] Obviously, it's been 15 or 20 years, so there's so many new story lines to talk about.''
I wonder what might be keeping Denzel from signing up. Although I'm also wondering what the incentive would be for him to want to return for a sequel to the film, 15 years later, other than to work with Spike again. It's been a little while since that happened - Inside Man in 2006 (a film that, by the way, has also been in sequel limbo).
But I doubt that a sequel to He Got Game would ever be greenlit by a Hollywood studio without Denzel Washington's involvement. Unless it's independently financed.
The first film opened at #1 at the box office on the weekend of its theatrical premiere, and went on to a $21,567,853 cume (or about $31 million, when adjusted for inflation); Certainly not what you'd call a blockbuster. But not atypical for a Spike Lee joint either.
Who's up for a sequel to He Got Game?