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Subject of Spike Lee's Next Film: the 'Little Blue Pill'

Movie on the origins of Viagra, based on an 'Esquire' article, will be a musical
By Jenn Gidman,  Newser Staff
Posted Nov 18, 2020 8:50 AM CST

(Newser) Viagra: The Musical? That's not the working title of Spike Lee's newest project, but it best encapsulates what he just signed up to do. Along with actor and playwright Kwame Kwei-Armah, the director will be penning a movie musical screenplay about the origins of the erectile dysfunction medication, with Passing Strange duo Stew Stewart and Heidi Rodewald coming up with the score, the New York Post reports. The film about "the little blue pill" is based on a 2018 article in Esquire by David Kushner that dove into the history "of how an unlikely duo popped the top on a $3-billion-a-year industry." In a nutshell, the drug (the generic version is called sildenafil) was originally being tested to treat chest pain by opening up blood vessels. When those blood vessels expanded, researchers noted that blood was then flowing to one place in particular, thus helping men achieve erections.

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"It was named Viagra, a meaningless word chosen, if anything, because drugs that started with the letter V were considered powerful-sounding," Kushner wrote. Lee seems excited to tell the story, noting in what the Post calls a "wacky" statement to Deadline that his mom used to drag him to movies as a kid, because his dad hated them. "Thank You Lawdy She Didn't Listen To My Ongoing Complaints About Musicals. So Finally Going Into My 4th Decade As A Filmmaker I Will Be Directing A DANCIN', ALL SINGIN' MUSICAL Spike Lee Joint And I Can't Wait." Naturally, some couldn't resist the low-hanging fruit of the film's topic, tying it to Lee's penchant for making long movies (many are two-plus hours; Malcolm X was more than three). "It better not last longer than 4 hours," one commenter joked of the new venture. As for how much, ahem, experience Lee has with Viagra himself, the Post notes that he "declined to draw a personal connection to the film's subject matter." (Read more Spike Lee stories.)

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