Spike Lee's Feature Film Debut 'She's Gotta Have It' Is Becoming a 10-Episode Netflix Series

April 20th 2017

SHE'S GOTTA HAVE IT, Tracy Camilla Johns, Spike Lee, 1986 SHE'S GOTTA HAVE IT, Tracy Camilla Johns, Spike Lee, 1986

Two years ago, it was announced that Spike Lee and Showtime had teamed up to develop a TV series based on "She's Gotta Have It." Details on the adaptation (for example, whether it’ll tell the exact same story the film did, with the same characters, as well as who Spike might be considering for his cast, etc) weren't made public at the time, and remained underwraps.

The plan was to develop a half-hour TV series based on Lee's cherished, though problematic feature film debut, which, by the way, celebrates its 30th year in release this year (it initially opened on August 8, 1986).

Skip ahead to an announcement from Netflix today that the premiere subscription VOD platform has picked up Spike's "She's Gotta Have It" series, obviously meaning that Showtime is no longer involved.

Netflix has ordered a 10-episode series for "She’s Gotta Have It," which will be a contemporary remake of Lee’s debut feature film, which he will also direct (all 10 episodes, each a half-hour long), and will serve as an executive producer as well, along with his producer-wife Tonya Lewis Lee.

In a statement from Spike Lee about the Netflix pickup, he said the following:

“SHE’S GOTTA HAVE IT Has A Very Special Place In My Heart. We Shot This Film In 12 Days (2 Six Day Weeks) Way Back In The Back Back Of The Hot Summer Of 1985 For A Mere Total of $175,000. Funds That We Begged, Borrowed and Whatnot To Get That Money. This Is The 1st Official Spike Lee Feature Film Joint And Everything That We Have Been Blessed With In This Tough Business Of Film All Have Been Due To SGHI. Now With The Passing (August 8th) Of The 30th Anniversary, It’s A Gift That Keeps On Giving. We Are Getting An Opportunity To Revisit These Memorable Characters Who Will Still Be Relevant And Avant Garde 3 Decades Later. With All That Said 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. We Are Hyped That NETFLIX Is Onboard With This Vision As Nola Darling, Mars Blackmon, Jamie Overstreet And Greer Childs DO DA DAMN THANG Now, Today In Da Republic Of Brooklyn, New York.”

I should mention that Netflix also picked up another "black film" to series recently - Justin Simien's "Dear White People" which is currently casting.

In the case of "She's Gotta Have It," this could very be a career changer for the actress Spike Lee selects for the lead role - Nola Darling; especially if she's an up-and-comer, instead of an already established actress. And frankly, I hope he goes with a fresh face.

Nola Darling is the young, self-assured Brooklynite, juggling 3 very different boyfriends, who, maybe, if collected into one body, will represent her ideal mate. But Nola doesn’t want to commit to any of her men, cherishing her personal freedom, even as their relationships with Nola grow, and each man wants her for himself.

So what actress (likely between the ages of 25 and 35) do you think can exude Nola’s complexities?

Spike Lee did say, 20+ years ago, that he wrote the film with Tracy Camila Johns in mind as Nola. So one can only assume that, in adapting the film into a Showtime series, he could also very likely already have an actress in mind for the part. In fact, I wouldn’t at all be surprised if he’s already approached her (whoever she is) about it.

Of course there are also the 3 men in her life, assuming the story remains the same, except set in the present-day: Mars Blackmon, Jamie Overstreet and Greer Childs; roles for 3 black actors to play.

Below is a trailer for the original 1986 film as a reminder of its look and feel:

by Shadow and Act on April 20th 2017

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