NEW YORK – Spike Lee worked with Michael Jackson and considered him a friend, but the director says even he learned a lot combing through footage of the icon for a planned documentary about the singer’s “Bad” album.

Lee calls it a “treasure chest of findings.”

“We have footage in this documentary that no one’s ever seen, stuff that Michael shot himself, behind-the-scenes stuff,” he said in an interview Monday. “We had complete access to the vaults of Michael Jackson. … He wrote 60 demos for the ‘Bad’ record. Only 11 made it. So we got to hear a lot of that stuff, too, so it was just a great experience.”

He added: “You don’t have to be a Michael Jackson-head to enjoy this.”

Lee’s documentary will be part of a flood of material to celebrate the 25th anniversary of the “Bad” album, Jackson’s follow-up to “Thriller” that included hits like the title track, “Smooth Criminal,” “The Way You Make Me Feel” and more. The album is being re-released Sept. 18 with additional tracks, a DVD and bonus material; Lee’s film is due to come out later this year.

Besides his artistry, Lee said the documentary will show a more personal side of the late legend.

“He had a great sense of humor, and he was funny — so you’ll see a lot of that stuff,” he said.

Lee interviewed people ranging from Kanye West to Mariah Carey to L.A. Reid to Sheryl Crow, who was Jackson’s backup singer on the “Bad” tour.

“We really divided it into two things: Artists today who were influenced by Michael, and then people who worked side by side – musicians, songwriters, technicians, engineers, people at the label, who were all committed to Michael, to the follow-up to the biggest record of all time, which still is ‘Thriller.”‘

Besides the documentary, Lee also plans to hold his now annual birthday tribute to Jackson in Prospect Park in Brooklyn, New York, on Aug. 25; Jackson would have turned 54 this year.

“This year we’re going to focus on the ‘Bad’ album, we’re going to focus on the 25th anniversary, but at the same time we’re going to play his full catalog, including the Jackson 5 and the Jacksons,” he said. “It’s going to be even bigger and better this year.” 

Singer’s community service questioned

LOS ANGELES – A judge ordered an audit of Chris Brown’s community service progress Tuesday after a prosecutor handling his felony assault case cited a possible discrepancy in the amount of work he has performed.

Deputy District Attorney Mary Murray requested the audit because she says the records are not clear on how many hours Brown performed and where the work has been done.

Brown had been allowed to perform six months’ worth of community labor in his home state of Virginia, but a judge said probation officials in Los Angeles should review detailed records to ascertain how much work he has actually done.

Love publicist slams suit by ex-assistant

LOS ANGELES – Courtney Love’s publicist is disputing claims by the rocker’s former assistant that she is owed unpaid wages and was subjected to unethical requests such as instructing her to hire a hacker and falsify legal letters.

Jessica Labrie filed the wrongful termination, wage and breach of contract lawsuit on Tuesday.

“The allegations are completely unfounded and are being made with malice by a disgruntled former employee,” Love’s publicist Steve Honig said in a statement Wednesday.

The suit states Labrie worked as Love’s administrative assistant for about a year in 2010 and 2011, but was fired after complaining she was owed thousands in unpaid wages and expenses for business trips.

The lawsuit also claims Labrie suffered from headaches, insomnia and other medical conditions as a result of Love’s conduct.