Lincoln may have Academy Award-winning actor Matthew McConaughey, but Cadillac has lined up an equally prestigious Oscar winner, filmmaker Spike Lee set to sing the praises of the fifth-generation Escalade when the all-new SUV makes its debut next month.
The 2021 Cadillac Escalade is set to make its debut at a splashy event in Los Angeles next month, and it will showcase the short film, “Anthem,” that Lee has directed.
“I’m honored to be part of the next generation of the Escalade, which embodies style, luxury and prestige conveyed without pretension,” said the 57-year-old Lee.
Known for his provocative and controversial approach to filmmaking, Lee won the Academy Award for Best Adapted Screenplay last year for his work, “BlacKkKlansman.” Other works of his include “She’s Gotta Have It,” “Do the Right Thing,” “Malcolm X,” “25th Hour” and “Inside Man.”
Lee’s gritty approach typically focuses on urban communities, areas where the original “’Slade,” may a strong impact when the original version debuted two decades ago. It quickly became a hit with athletes and artists, particularly those in the rap world.
Cadillac has said little about the Gen-5 Escalade ahead of next month’s preview, but it’s been caught in a variety of environments by spy photographers in recent months, including one pre-production model seen rolling off the assembly line.
It appears to be slightly larger than the outgoing SUV and adopts a larger grille framed by vertical running lights and slit-thin headlamps just below the hood. The overall look of the 2021 model’s face bears strong similarities to Cadillac’s XT6 crossover.
But the Escalade will share a more traditional SUV platform with several other new General Motors models coming next year, including the Chevrolet Tahoe and Suburban and the GMC Yukon. That would mean that the Escalade also will migrate to an independent rear suspension.
Spy shots have also indicated the full-size SUV will get a complete makeover in its three-row cabin, largely picking up themes first seen four years ago with Caddy’s Pebble Beach concept, the Escala. Among the first details Caddy officials have confirmed is that the 2021 Escalade will pick up on the show car’s curved LED touchscreen display.
Whatever the final stats, director Lee is expected to highlight the history of the Escalade, which made its original appearance nearly 22 years ago, the first production model rolling off the assembly line in Arlington, Texas, on Feb. 8, 1998.
Ironically, the fate of the big sport-utility vehicle was far from clear a decade ago, as General Motors emerged from bankruptcy and U.S. motorists were rushing to buy small, fuel-efficient vehicles to cope with soaring gas prices. But, only a few years later, things turned in a different and unexpected direction as the market shifted to SUVs, CUVs and pickups. Cadillac brought out the Gen-4 Escalade for 2015 and didn’t look back.
To date, the brand has sold 806,000 Escalades in the U.S., 900,000 worldwide.
Director Lee shot “Anthem” using the same, distinctive “Double-Dolly technique, which heightens the sense of motion to draw viewers closer to the character,” Caddy suggested in a release confirming plans for his short film’s debut.
“As one of the greatest storytellers and most creative filmmakers of his time, Spike Lee’s unique perspective is the perfect conduit for sharing the passion and spirit of the 2021 Escalade,” said Steve Carlisle, Cadillac president. “It is an icon reimagined.”