Spike’s gotta have ’em! Hundreds flood Lee’s open casting call in Fort Greene

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Future stars: The open casting call drew a huge line, which stretched down several blocks.
All smiles: Actor Atibon Nazaire put on his best face for the open casting call.
Early birds: Some people got in line as early as noon.
Picture perfect: The casting agents took pictures of all of the potential new stars, but didn’t ask them to read any lines.

They had to have it!

Hundreds of wannabe actors lined up for hours in Fort Greene for the chance to appear in Spike Lee’s next joint — a 10-episode Netflix remake of his trailblazing 1986 neighborhood-set flick “She’s Gotta Have It” — when the local filmmaker held an open casting call in the Masonic Temple on Clermont Avenue on Monday night.

Locals arrived as early as noon for the 6:30 pm event and the epic line eventually stretched around the block and snaked across the street from Lafayette Avenue to Myrtle Avenue — proof of just how much locals love the original film, according to one starry-eyed local.

“I think ‘She’s Gotta Have It’ is a big New York staple, it’s really big culturally,” said Beford-Stuyvesant resident Candice Stewart, a social media guru who doesn’t have any acting experience. “Obviously from the line, a lot of people are excited about it.”

Stewart was in the back of the queue but still made it inside, where casting agents took two photos of her and her resume before shuffling her out. No one read lines, she reported — casting agents were just seeing who had “the look” for the series.

And Lee was there in person, standing off to the side and checking out the action, she said.

But for at least one hopeful, the prospect of performing in a Netflix series was just as exciting as working with the legendary movie maker.

“I’m really down with the Netflix movement — after seeing ‘The Get Down,’ it got me really inspired,” said Long Islander Dani Wilson, who also auditioned for that series — a look at the early days of hip-hop set in the Bronx.

Lee filmed the original “She’s Gotta Have It” in Fort Greene in for just $175,000 over the course of 12 summer days in 1985. The film — which tells the story of local artist Nola Darling and her attempts to juggle the affections of three men without committing to any of them — is widely credited with putting both Lee and his neighborhood on the map.

The 2016 remake will be a “contemporary update” of the same story, Netflix told Deadline Hollywood.

He has already cast “Hamilton” star Anthony Ramos as sneakerhead Mars Blackmon — the part Lee himself played in the original, and one he successfully spun off into a series of Nike Air Jordan commercials.

But for the amateur actors trying out on Monday night, any character would be the role of a lifetime.

“This was a miracle to have the opportunity to be part of a classic with Spike Lee,” said Pharoah Folk, an East New York resident. “I’d be happy to be anything from the dude at the pizza shop to the dude harassing Nola.”


Reach reporter Lauren Gill at or by calling (718) 260–2511. Follow her on Twitter @laurenk_gill
Updated 10:17 pm, July 9, 2018
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Reasonable discourse

Mustafa Khant from Atlantic Ave. says:
Do Over Do Over! A remake? Really? No new ideas?
Oct. 5, 2016, 12:05 pm
Feminist from Park Slope says:
This movie is MISOGONIST! It is against WOMEN! Just another example of male privillege. Would someone ask him to check his PRIVILLIGE at the door when dealing with women???
Oct. 6, 2016, 3:51 am

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