Filmmaker Spike Lee, who complained last year that a white director should not be in charge of a film about Malcolm X, will direct the movie himself.

Lee inherited the movie "The Autobiography of Malcolm X" from director Norman Jewison, who worked months on the project before throwing in the towel, The New York Times said Sunday. Jewison said he didn't know how to make it.Malcolm X, a militant civil-rights activist and champion of black nationalism, was assassinated in 1965 in New York.

Lee was quoted by the Times last year saying he had a problem with Jewison directing the film. "Blacks have to control these films," he said.

A movie about the black militant's life has been kicking around Hollywood for 20 years. Jewison took it over for Warner Bros. in May 1990 but finally said Malcolm X was "an enigma to me. I just haven't licked it."

Jewison denied he was stepping down because of pressure to have a black director handle the film.