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Rosie Perez On Her Do the Right Thing Dance Sequence


The weekend before last was the 25th anniversary of Spike Lee’s classic Do the Right Thing, and Sarah Larson’s New Yorker dispatch from the Brooklyn Academy of Music’s celebration included this wonderful Rosie Perez reminiscence, on her iconic dance sequence in the film’s opening credits:

“It was supposed to be Cool Jerk,” she said. “We were doing sixties-style dancing. At the last minute, Spike said he changed his mind, hiring Public Enemy. We had to come up with a new deal in a day and a half.” When it came time to shoot, she said, “Spike didn’t tell me he needed anger and angst and exhaustion. Instead, he just said, ‘I need you to kill it. I thought, O.K.—I thought I killed it in the first hour. Freakin’ eight hours later, this freakin’ man had me still dancing. I had tennis elbow, my knee was swelling. So I forgot about the lyrics, the original words—you know, Elvis, John Wayne? To me, it was all Spike, Spike, Spike, I hate you, I hate you, I hate you! And, when like rage and hate just poured out of my body, pure exhaustion, He went, “Cut, print it! We got it!”

If only we had the audio. [TNY]

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