"Everything I've done was preparation to get me where I needed to be for 'Miracle at St. Anna.' So it took 23 years. We're talking about American patriots, heroic acts," Lee said in an interview on the TV program "Our World with Black Enterprise" about his new film, which follows a group of black soldiers trapped behind enemy lines.
"I wanted to do a World War II story, (then) I read James McBride's novel," Lee recalled. "It takes a whole lot more greatness to be a patriot at a time when you're still being lynched and at a time when you're still being denied first-class citizenship. That's when I called James up and said, 'I would like to do this.'"
Despite his success making movies like "Do the Right Thing," "Jungle Fever," "Malcolm X" and "Inside Man," Lee said he, like many other filmmakers, still struggles to get his pictures made.
"Unless you're (Steven) Spielberg, (George) Lucas, James Cameron, Clint Eastwood -- you're still fighting and struggling to get your film made," Lee said. "Especially if you're doing films that aren't based on superhero comic books, old TV shows made into movies, or sequels. So this is really the climate working within the Hollywood studio today. It's rough."