During a virtual roundtable with Critics Choice members, Spike Lee spoke about not using younger actors or de-aging during flashbacks in Da 5 Bloods.
The roundtable session lasted slightly over an hour. WDAF-TV film critic Shawn Edwards, a Critics Choice board member, moderated. Spike Lee, Delroy Lindo, and Jonathan Majors joined from Da 5 Bloods. When thinks were set to wrap up after almost 45 minutes, Spike Lee decided to answer one more question. There would be another question as a double encore before wrapping up. However, I had the opportunity to ask the second-to-last question.
The following transcript has been lightly edited for clarity.
Thank you for having me here tonight. My question is for Spike Lee. What led you to do the flashbacks with the present actors at their current age as opposed to getting a whole different set of actors or going the Scorsese route and using CGI to de-age them?
Spike Lee: Thank you for the question. Well, the guys that I have are great actors. They’re great actors. And I think their performance would have been hindered by having some people play younger versions of them. And I’ve never really seen a film where that works. Didn’t want to do that. Also, Netflix was the only place–well, Netflix was the last place we got who said yes and we made this film for a price. If the additional $100,000,000 had been added to the budget, the film would not have been made. Also, to continue to answer the question, we were shooting in the jungle. 100 degrees. Prosthetics, make-up, that stuff would have melted and run off the actor’s face.
I believe in the intelligence of the audience. And I knew that it might be a little jarring the first time they see it. But they would soon just go for the ride and understand this is their memory. And that’s really been, I mean, the studio they thought it was a risk but I didn’t. I knew that the audience would believe it. ‘Cause we had great actors. They’re great. In fact, the great actors made the audience understand that they’re playing their younger selves. And so, it’s really the combination of all those factors but we were not getting another $100,000,000 to use special effects to do de-aging. That wasn’t going to happen.