Originally slated to be directed by Norman Jewison, a white man, Malcolm X soon became a Spike Lee joint after the director personally lobbied Jewison and convinced him that only a black director could make the film. It’s difficult to imagine anyone else having made this movie. While some minimized it as a unadventurous, straightforward telling of X’s life, the fact that a three-hour-plus movie about a still-controversial black leader was even made—Lee had to ask wealthy African American entertainers to help him finance the film—is incredibly impressive. Witness the fact that a Martin Luther King Jr. biopic has yet to be made. Who alive has the guts to do that?
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