I'm Kobe Bryant, And I'm Taking Over This Motion PictureS

Spike Lee is denying the whole thing, but the New York Post is telling the tale of how Kobe Bryant supposedly hijacked Lee's documentary of him to present himself in the best possible light.

It was a standoff between the director and the NBA superstar, says the Post, and Lee completely capitulated. And there's even a cameo by Stephen A. Smith (in the story, not the documentary). Oh hell, I haven't seen it; maybe he's in both.

Lee, said the Post, had spent months putting together the documentary, Kobe Doin' Work, which premiered at the Tribeca Film Festival on Saturday and will be shown again on May 16 on ESPN. Lee had flown to Los Angeles, and had 30 cameras in place for the April 13, 2008, Lakers game against the San Antonio Spurs.

But suddenly Bryant said he wouldn't cooperate unless he was granted creative control, sources said. Lee tried several times to call Bryant, who wouldn't accept his calls. So Lee, at the suggestion of ESPN broadcaster Stephen A. Smith, drove to Bryant's house in a gated community, where Bryant refused to see him, sources said.

"It went so far that Lee had a last-minute plan to substitute Spurs star Tim Duncan for Kobe and make the whole documentary about Duncan," said our source.

But Kobe and Spike somehow worked it out, and Lee is being a good soldier promoting the Kobe picture, which screened Saturday night at the Tribeca Film Festival.

"Spike Lee completely yielded," said one insider. "And at the start of the film, when Kobe arrives at the Staples Center and sees Spike with the camera, he gives him a big smile and thumbs up, showing he knows he won the battle."

Lee's representatives have denied this, it should be pointed out. But a few who have seen it are less than impressed; it apparently looks like a documentary that's been taken over and gutted.

Kobe Bryant Called Shots On Spike Lee Film [New York Post]
Exclusive Preview Of The Spike Lee Documentary On Kobe Bryant [BSO]
Tribeca 2009: Kobe Doin' Work [Reel Talk]