When you lose Michael Mann to another flick, the first person you go to for a replacement is totally Spike Lee. That appears to be the reasoning of Black Bear Pictures with their upcoming film Gold. With Mann apparently out of the running, Lee has reportedly stepped up to the plate as director.
Gold is based on the 1993 Bre-X Mineral Corporation mining scandal. The scandal involved the Canadian corporation’s acquisition of a mine in Busang, Indonesia, which it claimed contained enormous gold deposits. Its stock prices soared, but it was soon discovered – after the death of the geologist who initially estimated the value of the mine – that ore samples had been ‘salted’ (laced) with gold dust. The film will apparently center on the prospector who makes the initial discovery in the Indonesian jungle.
The corporate scandal/possible murder and conspiracy angle might not seem like something Lee would be into, but consider that this is the guy who made Inside Man as well as Do The Right Thing. He does have some thriller credibility and the story sounds like it could be interesting.
Michael Mann had initially been signed on to direct Gold, but he left the project back in 2012 to develop a cyber thriller starring Chris Hemsworth, and something called Big Tuna about Chicago mob boss Tony Accardo.
So while the flip from Mann to Lee might seem a little weird, I can see it working. It would be nice to see Lee sink his teeth into a non-racially charged movie (although I suppose he’ll find a way to bring up the race angle sooner or later) and focus on some good old-fashioned corporate scandal.
It should be pointed out that Lee has not yet been officially announced at the director of Gold, but is listed on Black Bear Production’s website as director of the project. We’ll have to wait for an official announcement.