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The Cast On Their Characters
Lee approached Anthony Mackie about taking the role of Jack while directing him on Sucker Free City, his recent project for Showtime. "I was very impressed with his work on SFC and wanted to keep working with him. There's a new generation of fine actors being forged right now and I feel that Anthony is one of them,” says Lee.

Holmes comments, "Casting has always been one of Spike's strong points. He has a unique skill to spot and recognize talent.” Lee offers, "I've always wanted to be in a position where our films can be a vehicle, a launching pad for young talented people who need a shot. There's an abundance of talent, but not an abundance of good roles. So with the opportunity we had there are a couple of roles for each film that can we can really let some young hungry talented person shine. This is part of the agenda, so we have always tried to do that. I think it something the audience loves when they feel they are part of the discovery. People want to see familiar faces, but at the same time they want to see new fresh faces too.”

Lee worked with casting director Kim Coleman to make his final choices. Of Mackie, Holmes adds; "Anthony exemplifies the qualities that Spike looks for in an actor. This has been a major opportunity for Anthony and he has made the most of it.” Needless to say, Mackie was interested and leapt at the opportunity to participate in She Hate Me. He feels that not many directors are making issue-driven films and that Spike's take on white-collar crime in America was badly needed. "White-collar crime hurts millions of ordinary people every year,” comments Mackie.

Mackie's decision was greatly influenced by his faith in Lee's ability to present difficult and controversial issues in a palatable way. "Spike has the ability to show you everyday situations without knocking you over the head with the information.” explains Mackie. Having committed to the role, Mackie was impressed by how deep Lee was willing to go in exploring the issues of corruption in the nation's boardrooms and its bedrooms.

Mackie was also impressed by the complexity of Jack's characterization. "African-American men in particular are not allowed to be very complex in the movies. The film deconstructs some of the stereotypes of what people are supposed to be,” explains Mackie. Determined to explore the type of environment that would produce a character like Jack, Mackie spent time on the campuses of Wharton Business School and Harvard University.

The challenge of playing Jack was an emotionally exhausting experience for Mackie. Jack begins the film with all of the accoutrements of success – a great job on Wall Street, material possessions and an overwhelming sense of confidence in his abilities and his capability to achieve his goals. Soon that is stripped from him. He is left selling his sperm for money, but through the process of that experience learns what is truly important. He realizes that his priorities had been misplaced. "Material things lose their hold on him; family, love, integrity - while they were always important, take their true place in his life,” says Mackie.

Lee knew Kerry Washington from watching her work in independent films. "I made a note to myself about working with her in the future,” recalls Lee. The opportunity to make good on his promise to himself came when he started looking for someone to play the role of Fatima.

Kerry Washington read the script on a plane while traveling across the country to meet with Lee. Her first reaction: "Oh my God, What have I gotten myself into?” Her second thought was, "Thank God, someone is addressing corruption in corporate life.” As an actor who had long yearned for the chance to work with Lee, Washington knew that this would be the opportunity of a lifetime. "I'm drawn to Spike's work because it's so layered. He has a unique perspective on American life.”

During a walk following the meeting, Washingt

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