“The Latest Spike Lee Joint: Basketball Videogame”

“A vigilant sideline presence at New York Knicks games, Spike Lee is almost as well known as a basketball fan as he is a filmmaker. His two worlds are coming together in a new project: writing, co-producing and directing a feature-length film that will be integrated into the next installment of a top-selling pro basketball videogame franchise, NBA 2K16, due out in September.

Three decades after directing the first of his influential black-and-white TV ads for Nike’s Air Jordans, Mr. Lee had to learn a new playbook for the videogame project. For his first time as a filmmaker, he used motion-capture technology to shoot the movie, which will be broken up into shorts that unfold between gameplay, charting the evolution of an NBA 2K16 player’s “career.”

These interstitials, which add up to tell a complete story, focus on the personal drama of an NBA player’s path, or as Mr. Lee put it in a recent interview, “The life of a baller off the court. The trials and tribulations. The money. The press. Your family.

He directed cast members wearing motion-capture gear during 12 days of shooting. Game developer Visual Concepts is now converting that footage, transposing the actors’ movements onto digital animated figures…”



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