Spike Lee’s Working on a Musical About Viagra


Off the back of his Vietnam War drama, Da 5 Bloods, Spike Lee has just announced his next project: a movie musical based on the guys who made Viagra.

According to Variety, the yet-to-be-titled film will come from a screenplay written by Lee and Kwame Kwei-Armah, based on journalist David Kushner’s 2018 Esquire article on the rise (‘scuse the pun) of the little blue pill that changed the sex lives of men everywhere. Titled All Rise: The Untold Story of the Guys Who Launched Viagra, Kushner’s article is a truly fascinating look at how two men (Rooney Nelson and Sal Giorgianni) became the ‘dynamic duo of erectile dysfunction, wooing angry religious leaders, skittish politicians, and cynical pharma nerds from all over.’ You should definitely go and read strange tale over on Esquire—this excerpt should give you a pretty good idea of what to expect:

The men had volunteered to be part of one of Viagra’s early clinical trials, a first step toward bringing it to market. It was a double-blind, placebo-controlled, randomized trial, which meant neither the physician nor the patient knew who’d be getting a placebo. After taking the drug, the patient received what was called “visual sexual stimulation.” The VSS of choice: Debbie Does Dallas. “I’d like you to watch it,” Nelson would tell the patient, “and I want to see if you get an erection or not. If you get an erection, there’s no cameras or anything, just so you know. If you have an erection, you know, feel free to masturbate. Here’s a vial. When you’re done, could you put the ejaculate, the semen, in that vial, close it up, and come back out?”

With the addition of original music and songs to this already peculiar story, it’s impossible to know what to expect from the filmmaker. But Lee’s pumped on it, giving credit to his cinephile mother in a statement for dragging him to the movies when he really just wanted to be playing with his friends on the block: ‘My Father, Bill Lee, Jazz/Folk Bassist, Composer HATED HollyWeird Movies, Henceforth And What Not, Me Being The Eldest Of 5 Children I Became Mommy’s Movie Date. She Was A Cinefile. Thank You Lawdy She Didn’t Listen To My Ongoing Complaints About Musicals. So Finally Going Into My 4th Decade As A Filmmaker I Will Be Directing An DANCIN’, ALL SINGIN’ MUSICAL Spike Lee Joint And I Can’t Wait. My Moms Has Been Waiting TOO!!! And Dats Da Rodgers And Hammerstein Truth, Ruth.’

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