Spike Lee is first black jury head for Cannes Film Festival
Credit: Jose Cruz

Spike Lee didn’t know Chadwick Boseman had cancer when they made ‘Da 5 Bloods’

Spike Lee has revealed that he was unaware that the late Chadwick Boseman was battling cancer during the filming of his most recent film Da 5 Bloods.

The legendary director cast the Black Panther star in his Netflix debut film which arrived earlier this year and focuses on the Vietnam War. Lee has now explained that he was in a state of shock when he heard about Boseman’s passing after the loved actor died of colon cancer at the age of 43 in August. The duo spent a considerable amount of time together throughout the Spring of 2019 but Boseman didn’t inform anyone around him that he was seriously ill and the director was none the wiser.

“He did not look well, but my mind never took that he had cancer,” Lee told Variety. “It was a very strenuous shoot. I mean, we all didn’t get to Vietnam until the end of the movie at Ho Chi Minh City. But that other stuff, the jungle stuff, was shot in Thailand. It was 100 degrees every day.

“It was also at that time the worst air pollution in the world. I understand why Chadwick didn’t tell me because he didn’t want me to take it easy. If I had known, I wouldn’t have made him do the stuff. And I respect him for that.”

Lee then took time to reflect on the late actor’s death, he said: “That night, for some reason, I went to bed early. And the fact that I went to bed early, I woke up early,” he said. “It must have been I was tired. I went to open my phone, and my phone – the whole thing had been blowing up. I turned it off. I was in shock.”

The BlacKkKlansman director then talked about how Boseman’s passing changes the film completely when he watches it now, adding, “And most recently, with my lovely wife, Tonya, we watched [Da 5 Bloods] again for the first time after his transition. And it plays totally different. He’s a ghost already. You know the scene I’m talking about? It’s the scene where he comes back, him and Delroy. I felt it when we shot it.”

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