Netflix didn’t offer up the coin to CGI de-age Delroy Lindo, Clarke Peters, Isiah Whitlock Jr., and Norm Lewis for Spike Lee’s latest movie Da 5 Bloods, so it’s a good thing black don’t crack. Da 5 Bloods sees the four veteran actors as Vietnam War veterans traveling back to the country for first time in decades to recover the body of their former squad leader, Stormin’ Norman (Chadwick Boseman), who just so happens to be buried near a secret treasure. In flashbacks, all four of the actors, all over 50, play themselves without de-aging makeup or digital effects, like we’ve seen in Netflix’s The Irishman. According to film notes obtained by the New York Times, this decision was meant to illustrate how “current dilemmas and even ailments color recollections of their former selves.” But Lee had a much simpler explanation. “I was not getting $100 million to de-age our guys,” he told the Times, alluding to the reported $160 million budget for The Irishman, in which CGI was used to de-age Robert De Niro, Joe Pesci, and Al Pacino. Netflix said there’s de-aging at home and it’s called your imagination. But, all in all, Lee isn’t that pressed about it. “I think we were able to turn a negative into a positive,” he said. One thing The Irishman and Da 5 Bloods have in common is that both their wide releases were canceled — Scorsese’s after Netflix failed to reach an agreement with venues and Lee’s due to the ongoing coronavirus pandemic. Instead, Da 5 Bloods, the acclaimed director’s first feature film for the streaming network, will premiere on Netflix June 12.
Spike Lee Photo: Karwai Tang/Getty Images