While he says he never worked in the theater and couldn't recall the last play he attended, Lee, in an interview with The New York Times, said stage work wasn't completely unknown to him.
Lee said he's been asked to create stage versions for several of his movies, but he wasn't interested at the time.
"Then something happened," Lee said.
He got a letter from Michael Abbott, who's producing the revival of "Stalag 17," the 1951 comedy-drama about American prisoners of war during World War II.
Lee said the project intrigued him, but he insisted it would be done on his terms.
"I just don't want to ... dust off some old piece and make a revival," Lee said. "If I'm going to make this venture, this debut to the stage, I have to try to come up with some things that are going to make it interesting for me."
Lee said he knows the differences between stage and film directing. In theater, he said, "there are no do-overs."