Spike Lee says film about Chicago violence is 'not a joke'

May 14, 2015

Spike Lee
Oscar-nominated filmmaker Spike Lee has defended his choice to make a movie about violence in Chicago titled "Chiraq."

Lee appeared Thursday on Chicago's South Side with parents whose children were victims of the city's gun and gang violence. Lee has been criticized for the title combining the names Chicago and Iraq from aldermen and Mayor Rahm Emanuel, who told the director that the title was unfair to residents.

But Lee said his intent was holding up a mirror to what is happening on the ground in the city. He said the subject was "serious business" and he would approach it as "real life and death."

Chicago-native actor John Cusack will be in the film. He that he loves his hometown and "would never do anything to hurt it."