Spike Lee’s Kickstarter campaign to fund his latest independent film project doesn’t give much away (though you’re asked to, of course). There’s no title, no hint at the plot. Just reassurance that it won’t include superheroes and comic book characters. So far, Lee fans have pledged $165k of the $1.25M needed. (Lee gives a big shout out to Steven Soderbergh who gave $10k).
What’s being backed in Hollywood these days that makes Spike Lee have to ask us for money? Well, Warner Bros., which back when argued about the budget of Lee’s “Malcolm X” to the point of shutting it down during post-production, has just greenlighted a live-action feature film based on Archie Comics. Apparently there’s timeless appeal in the 72-year-old comic book series that follows the travails and hi-jinks of Archie, Betty, Veronica and Jughead–a cheerful group of white high school teenagers living in the burbs. (Note: during the 1970s, two young black characters, Chuck and Nancy, were added to the cast.) “Glee” and “Big Love” writer Roberto Aguirre-Sacasa is working on the script. Aguirre-Sacasa is no stranger to comic book characters–he helped rescue Spiderman on Broadway and he knows Archie Comics especially well. Before graduating from the Yale School of Drama, his debut play “Archie’s Weird Fantasy” featured Archie coming out and moving to New York, which got the playwright a cease-and-desist order from Archie Comics. But that’s so yesterday. The two dramatic forces have mended fences, and a sanctioned “Archie Meets Glee” comic book was published earlier this year. So we know that won’t be the name of Spike Lee’s new joint, which is too bad, really. But you can’t bring Archie in for a million and a quarter.