“Chi-Raq” Spike Lee Releases the Trailer to His new Film, but the Title Offends Chicago Officials

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“Chi-Raq” Spike Lee Releases the Trailer to His new Film, but the Title Offends Chicago Officials –

Spike Lee’s film Chi-Raq has stirred a lot of controversy.  Set for release on Dec. 4 only in select theaters, the film’s title is a common name used by residents of Chicago’s Southside to describe the area as a warzone.

Actor Samuel Jackson starring in Chi-Raq. 40 Acres and a Mule Filmworks

Actor Samuel L. Jackson starring in “Chi-Raq.” 40 Acres and a Mule Filmworks

MSNBC reported that Lee, never one to back down from a public spat, has been outspoken about the opposition his film has faced from Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel, who he recently referred to as a “bully.” Lee and Emanuel met early on in the film’s production to try to reach common ground to no avail.

“His whole thing was, the title is going to hurt tourism, the title is going to hurt economic development. But what tourism is he talking about? While we were shooting the film, you had the NFL draft here. Quarter million people in Grant Park … So this part of the city is booming,” Lee told Chicago Magazine in a recent interview.

NBC CHICAGO – The trailer for “Chi-Raq,” begins with the sound of gunshots, and a narrator says, “Homicides in Chicago, Illinois, have surpassed the death toll of American Special Forces in Iraq.” The statement is followed by the proclamation, “Welcome to Chi-Raq.”

During the filming and the days leading up to the film’s release, Lee offered few details about the plot or nature of the film. A May report from Screen Daily, however, claimed “Chiraq” would be a reimagined production of the ancient Greek comedy “Lysistrata,” a story where women withhold sexual privileges to try to stop the Peloponnesian War. Clips in the “Chiraq” trailer appear to confirm this report.

The movie was filmed in Chicago over the summer with many Chicagoans standing in as extras. It features several stars, including Nick Cannon, Wesley Snipes, Jennifer Hudson, Teyonah Parris, Samuel L. Jackson and John Cusack, who appears to be a priest and activist, according to a shot in the trailer.  Read more on this story…

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