It’s been 29 years since Spike Lee’s “Do The Right Thing” that explored diverse issues in the racially tense Bedford-Stuyvesant neighborhood in Brooklyn. The iconic film that still finds relevance in contemporary society earned Lee an Oscar nomination for best original screenplay.
“Do The Right Thing” boasted an all-star cast with names like Lee himself, Danny Aiello, Ruby Dee, Samuel L. Jackson, and Giancarlo Esposito. Famous comedian, Martin Lawrence and “Fearless” actress, Rosie Perez, also commenced their career with roles in the film. It would be nice to know what these people have all been up to since their historic collaboration.
Apart from producing, writing, and directing the movie, Lee also played “Mookie,” the main character whose conflict arises from a confusion of loyalties. He worked at a pizza shop owned by an Italian and the entire film revolves around his one long day of delivering pizzas in an intense heat wave.
Lee, 61, has remained vocal about racial issues, which usually form the theme of every other project he handles. “Malcolm X,” "Inside Man" and "Bamboozled" are only a few of those.
Perez was cast as Mookie’s girlfriend, Tina. She had a sharp mouth and impressive dark skills. She performed some of her moves in the film’s opening credits and also doubled as official choreographer for the production.
Perez reprised her role in "In Living Color" from 1990-1993, and also went on to star in major productions like “White men can’t jump” and “The Counselor.”
Lawrence, at the time of filming “Do The Right Thing,” was what you’d call an upcoming stand-up comedian. He played a supporting role as neighborhood teenager, Cee.
Lawrence is today an international celebrity who has starred in countless movies. He also had his popular sitcom “Martin” which ran on Fox for five years.
He played “Buggin’ Out,” an explosive young man who spearheaded the controversial riot at the end of the film. Esposito has also attained Hollywood stardom after the film, starring in productions like “Breaking Bad” and “Revolution.”
Turturro portrayed “Pino,” the son Sal who owned the pizzeria where Mookie worked. He hates African-Americans.
He went on to feature in other Spike Lee films, and recently directed the movie, "Fading Gigolo."
He played Sal, the pizzeria owner, who was hated by almost every character at the end of the movie. He received an Oscar nomination for his portrayal of the Italian.
Aiello, 85, released “Reach Me” in November 2015.
SAMUEL L. JACKSON
He played the character of “Mister Señor Love Daddy,” a local DJ.
Today, Jackson is one of the cast members who are still active and actively sought after in Hollywood.
His character was “Coconut Sid,” one of three locals who was usually trading banter on the street.
His popularity increased after “Do The Right Thing,” and he went on to appear in many productions, including as Ervin H. Burrell in HBO’s "The Wire" from 2002-2008.
RUBY DEE & OSSIE DAVIS
Ruby Dee played the role of “Mother Sister” who throughout the film, sat watching at her window.
Ossie Davis starred as “Da Mayor,” the neighborhood drunk who pursued Mother Sister romantically.
Today, the real-life couple are both late. Davis died at the age of 87 in 2005, while Ruby Dee passed on at the age of 91 in 2014.
March 07, 2019