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Spike Lee Is Coming to Chicago to Talk 'Chiraq,' Which Is a Musical Comedy

By Andrea V. Watson | May 13, 2015 6:05pm | Updated on May 13, 2015 6:55pm
 The writer and director will talk about 'Chiraq' on Thursday at St. Sabina.
The writer and director will talk about 'Chiraq' on Thursday at St. Sabina.
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Mireya Acierto/Getty Images

UPDATE: Spike Lee Says "Chiraq" Naysayers Will 'Look Stupid' In Time. Click here.

AUBURN GRESHAM — Spike Lee is coming to Chicago to talk "Chiraq."

The Academy Award-nominated director, who has gotten grief for calling his planned film set on the South Side "Chiraq" in an apparent nod to the area's gun violence, will be at St. Sabina Church in Auburn Gresham Thursday.

He'll hold a morning press conference — with actor John Cusack and co-writer Kevin Willmott on hand — to talk about the film, the details of which continue to trickle out.

Rather than a violence-scarred drama about South Side violence, it will be a musical comedy, reported Screen Daily. And sources confirm it will be a remake of "Lysistrata," Aristophanes' ancient Greek comedy about how women withheld sex to try to stop the Peloponnesian War. In Lee's version, the women of the South Side try the same to end the violence.

The Rev. Michael Pfleger is hosting Thursday's press conference at St. Sabina, 1210 W. 78th Pl. Purpose Over Pain, a group for Chicago parents who have lost children to gun violence will be present.

On Saturday, the church let a talent agency hold a casting call at the St. Sabina Academy, 7801 S. Throop St.

Crews plan to film in Chicago in Englewood and other neighborhoods starting later this month and continuing through July.

Cusack will appear in the film. While Kanye West won’t star in the film, there are discussions that he will get involved with the soundtrack, Screen Daily reported.

Lee's project has stirred up controversy among some city politicians and residents, mainly because of the title that compares the city to a war zone.

Ald. Will Burns (4th) called the film’s name an "insult" and at a City Council meeting last week, he submitted a resolution that asks the Illinois Film Office to deny the director a $3 million tax credit for the film if he kept the title.

But Pfleger said that Burns should at least give the script a chance. On Facebook, Pfleger said, “Very disappointing to see Ald. Will Burns trying to block the tax break for Spike Lee's movie. He has not seen the script, nor know the story line, but wants to ignore an iconic Director his First Amendment Right! Perhaps with 112 Killed and 607 Shot in Chicago in the first 4 months of 2015, we should be much more concerned with the reality of loss of life than a name of a movie we don't know anything about yet…”

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