Sneed: John Cusack likely part of Spike Lee film on Chicago violence

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The movie set . . .

Is Lee going to Spike Chicago?

Months ago — on Jan. 27 — Sneed reported acclaimed film director Spike Lee is putting together a film on “violence and education with a special focus on Chicago.”


Now Sneed hears Lee is planning to shoot the film, which will not only focus on violence but how it may be handled effectively, in Chicago.

The director was accompanied by the actors/Chicago natives John and Joan Cusack at Sunday’s Easter Mass at St. Sabina Catholic Church, led by the Rev. Mike Pfleger, the firebrand peace priest.


Sneed is told that Lee, who hits town this month to talk about his career as part of the Chicago International Movies and Music Festival, has been in Chicago mucho times since January — scouting locations and interviewing victims of violence.

Pfleger even noted in a January Facebook post that Lee visited St. Sabina and interviewed people and school principals dealing with violence, as well “as Brothers from the Blocks” and “Parents who have lost their children to Violence.”

Now comes word via Hollywood news site The Wrap that Lee’s new film is titled “Chiraq” (Chicago/Iraq war zone . . . Get it?) and will be produced for Amazon Studios. Lee is courting Samuel L. Jackson, Common, Kanye West — and actor Jeremy “Mr. Selfridge” Piven for the ensemble cast.

It’s no secret Piven is close to the Cusacks, and the three were members of the Piven Theatre Workshop in Evanston run by Piven’s mother, Joyce.


Will Piven, who was brilliant in his hard-charging role imitating Mayor Rahm Emanuel’s prickly celebrity agent brother, Ari Emanuel, in the HBO series “Entourage,” play the role of a hard-charging mayor like Rahm Emanuel? Or could Cusack play Pfleger?

Now that ought to give the newly calm Rahm, who had to deal with CNN’s “Chicagoland” series showcasing the city as a war zone, a case of shpilkes!

The Chuy beat . . .

Is a star about to twinkle again?

Is former mayoral contender Jesus “Chuy” Garcia, who gave the Rahmster a mega run for the money in the dramatic last leg of the runoff election, being urged to consider a run for the U.S. Senate seat held by Mark Kirk?

Or will he be patient enough to position himself to run for Cook County board president if Toni Preckwinkle decides to run for mayor in four years?

Just asking . . .

I spy . . .

Chicago artist/writer Tom O’Gorman has been featured on French radio while he escorts a Parisian production team around town this week making a documentary on Chicago art, architecture and politics . . . Then they are off to Kiki’s Bistro for pate and champagne and a segment on O’Gorman’s paintings that fill the restaurant . . . Ooh-la-la!


Pssst! Sneed hears former Gov. George Ryan’s photograph still hangs above the bar at the legendary Hotel Nacional de Cuba in Havana, Cuba.

Still missing is the statue Fidel Castro was going to erect in honor of Ryan being the first U.S. governor to lead a trade delegation to Cuba.

Sports shorts . . .

Hey! Hey! Chicago Cubs owner Tom Ricketts’ pre-game party Sunday was at the Sports Corner, which is owned by George Loukas — who was foxy enough to sell two of his rooftop properties to the Cubs.

• Little-known fact: Loukas was once Tom Ricketts’ landlord before his family hit it big. “Everything is good between Tom and George, which is pretty obvious since Tom chose George’s place for the party,” a Sneed source said.

Sneedlings . . .

Friday’s birthdays: Omar Sharif, 83; Haley Joel Osment, 27, and Mandy Moore, 31.

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