Ca a commencé avec ça:
Clint Eastwood folds his gangly frame behind a clifftop table at the Hotel Du Cap, a few miles up the coast from Cannes, sighs deeply, and squints out over the Mediterranean. « Has he ever studied the history? » he asks, in that familiar near-whisper.
The « he » is Spike Lee, and the reason Eastwood is asking is because of something Lee had said about Eastwood’s Iwo Jima movie Flags of Our Fathers, while promoting his own war movie, Miracle at St Anna, about a black US unit in the second world war. Lee had noted the lack of African-Americans in Eastwood’s movie and told reporters: « That was his version. The negro version did not exist. »
Eastwood has no time for Lee’s gripes. « He was complaining when I did Bird [the 1988 biopic of Charlie Parker]. Why would a white guy be doing that? I was the only guy who made it, that’s why. He could have gone ahead and made it. Instead he was making something else. » As for Flags of Our Fathers, he says, yes, there was a small detachment of black troops on Iwo Jima as a part of a munitions company, « but they didn’t raise the flag. The story is Flags of Our Fathers, the famous flag-raising picture, and they didn’t do that. If I go ahead and put an African-American actor in there, people’d go, ‘This guy’s lost his mind.’ I mean, it’s not accurate. »
After Eastwood told him to « shut his face » and stop criticizing him about not including African-Americans in his 2006 Iwo Jima movies, « Flags of Our Fathers » and « Letters From Iwo Jima, » Lee’s lashing out.
« First of all, the man is not my father and we’re not on a plantation either, » he told ABCNEWS.com. « He’s a great director. He makes his films, I make my films. The thing about it though, I didn’t personally attack him. And a comment like ‘a guy like that should shut his face’ — come on Clint, come on. He sounds like an angry old man right there. »
Lee has a proposal for Eastwood:
« If he wishes, I could assemble African-American men who fought at Iwo Jima and I’d like him to tell these guys that what they did was insignificant and they did not exist, » he said. « I’m not making this up. I know history. I’m a student of history. And I know the history of Hollywood and its omission of the one million African-American men and women who contributed to World War II. »
Lee’s response to Eastwood’s claim?
« I never said he should show one of the other guys holding up the flag as black. I said that African-Americans played a significant part in Iwo Jima, » he said. « For him to insinuate that I’m rewriting history and have one of the four guys with the flag be black … no one said that. It’s just that there’s not one black in either film. And because I know my history, that’s why I made that observation. »
Lee however promised to draw a line under the bitter war of words, alluding to the tone of the bid for the White House of Barack Obama, who went to see Lee’s Do The Right Thing on his first date with his wife Michelle. Lee said of Eastwood: « Even though he’s trying to have a Dirty Harry flashback, I’m going to take the Obama high road and end it right here. Peace and love. »