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Spike Lee is currently in the process of tackling the prestige project that every director has to reach at some point: the Very Important World War II Movie. In The Miracle at St. Anna he’s telling the story of black American soldiers who fought to protect a village in Italy; like many contributions made by African-Americans, the story has been overlooked and forgotten over the years.
It sounds like a good and worthwhile project, something Lee could really be proud of. Which is why it is totally baffling that Naomi Campbell has dropped out of the cast, to be replaced by Kerry Washington. Blackfilm.com reported the story, saying that Campbell dropped out because of scheduling conflicts. It’s not baffling that she dropped out, of course, but that she was on the set, or even considered for a part, in the first place.
Seriously, in what universe does Naomi Campbell, known for beating up her assistants and pretty much anyone else in her path, get cast in a serious World War II drama? Next you’re going to tell me Jamie Lynn Spears will be starring in a biopic of Janis Joplin, or Perez Hilton is set to play Abraham Lincoln. Spike Lee makes provocative filmmaking choices, sure, but Naomi Campbell??
Luckily we no longer have to contemplate this, since Campbell has been replaced by the respectable and talented Kerry Washington, and all is well in the world. Hopefully this switcheroo means Spike has come to his senses and will stop casting fake actors, or that somebody took pity on him and ousted Campbell on his behalf. I’m sure someone’s assistant will get beaten up with a Blackberry as a result, but really, it’s for the good of all of us.