Wesley Snipes Mentions Another Hoover Film, 'Blade' and More
by Ethan Anderton
October 22, 2010
Though he's currently dealing with legal troubles with the IRS that could garner a 3-year stint in prison, Wesley Snipes is still looking to get some new projects off the ground. Recently the actor/producer told Deadline about his development of a period drama entitled Code Name Zorro. The story centers J. Edgar Hoover's campaign to discredit Martin Luther King by way of the titular operation which covertly attempted to subvert King’s influence over the civil rights movement by tarnishing his reputation. There's more on this project, Snipes' comments on continuing Blade, and a few details on a new family time travel film below.
For Code Name Zorro, Snipes has been working with MLK's son to gather information about how the iconic civil rights activist was treated by Hoover and his FBI. The project, scripted by Justin Stamm, has the full endorsement of King's family and Snipes says it's "an important project that has my focus." Speaking of focus, though the film's catalyst is Hoover's fear and attempted smearing of MLK, apparently the film will actually follow the final moments in the life of former assistant FBI director William Sullivan, who headed Code Name Zorro and found himself wiretapping King’s phones, and orchestrating such dirty tricks as giving King's wife audiotapes of the civil rights leader's conversations with other women. Sullivan wrote to Hoover after the famous "I have a dream" speech, ""We must mark [King] now, if we have not done so before, as the most dangerous Negro of the future in this nation." Pretty intense stuff, right?
However, Deadline is quick to point out the plethora of MLK centric projects developing in the industry right now. Lee Daniels is still working on Selma, Steven Spielberg has a biopic in the works with full support from the estate, and Oprah Winfrey and HBO are developing a 7-hour miniseries based on Taylor Branch's book series chronicling America's history during King's life. In addition, Clint Eastwood is working on his own J. Edgar Hoover biopic which may overlap some of the same material, even if the focus seems to be on Hoover's balance of work and his supposed secret homosexual romance. Fortunately, if the market gets too crowded, this isn't the only project Snipes is producing.
Today, Variety reported his Maandi Media Entertainment banner is now producing Chronicles of the Mayan Tunnel, an $80 million 3D family action-adventure project based on an unpublished book by Raul Julia-Levy, son of the late actor Raul Julia. The story follows four youngsters sent back in time 1,500 years to the height of the Mayan Empire and Julia-Levy will feature in the film as Yum Kax, a Mayan god of justice. Our heroes have to face-off with the war god Ah Puch, a role reserved for Snipes if his legal entanglements get cleared up in time.
As for going back to hunting vampires, Snipes is a little perturbed about recent rumors suggesting other actors like Idris Elba might be up for a new take on Blade. Snipes says, "Maybe we get around to doing another Blade, except, from what I’m reading, every other actor is talking about playing him, and nobody is talking to Wesley. How strange that they don’t come and talk to me about it.” It's not really that strange considering what we've heard about his behavior on the set of the Marvel comics franchise, but I digress. Personally, I'd rather see Snipes pursue these new projects and continue finding others instead of returning to Blade. How about you?