I was always the smallest on my block. But I never let my size impede what I wanted to do. I didn’t like to lose, so I was going to outrun, out-hustle, out-work and outsmart to compensate.
As a neophyte, I was trying to make a film called Messenger. It was a disaster. So I wrote something within my budget and skills: three people talking in a room. That was She’s Gotta Have It. We shot it in 12 days.
When people see me at Knicks games, I’m acting the way I did as a kid—I just wasn’t in the first row. I can’t sit there comatose. There were serious moments in Indiana during some off those Playoff wars. We had to get our own security because the Pacers were telling their security to turn a blind eye.
I stay away from [discussing] my marriage. People answer that question and the next week they’re getting divorced. We don’t need a magazine cover to know that we love each other. It was never our goal to be a power couple.
I’ve always been a hybrid. Between my first film in 1986 and this one, Red Hook Summer, I’ve done Hollywood films like Malcolm X and He Got Game. I can’t be concerned with what other people think I should be doing.
The iconic director’s Brooklyn-set film, Red Hook Summer, hits theaters on August 10. The bleak, yet probing, flick follows ATL teen Flik Royale as he spends a summer in the projects with his super-religious grandpops.