Wesley Snipes has reportedly been released from prison after serving a 3 year sentence at the Federal Correctional Institution in Pennsylvania. He was officially scheduled to be released on July 19, 2013, but he is said to have been sent home on April 2, where he will be under house arrest until July 19.
So, while he’s out of jail officially, he’s confined to his house for another 3 months. However, I’m sure he’s glad to be home, even if it means he can’t go to any parties just yet.
I’d also guess that, if he hasn’t been already, he’s sorting all his affairs out, specifically, returning to acting again, after being away from it for so long. He hasn’t given any indication that he’s no longer interested in the business, so I assume he’s looking forward to jumping back into the game, doing what he does well – kicking arse on screen!
He’s 50 years old, so he’s not a young man anymore, although he’s not an old man either. I’m sure he’s still in top shape, and hasn’t lost a step.
With today’s news, I thought I’d take a look at projects of his that he might return to, as well as recent attachments he might follow-up on, to see where exactly our man might begin.
1 – First, the horror/western movie Gallowwalkers, which he stars in, has long been done, but was never released, and will now finally be released by Wrekin Hill Entertainment, who picked up USA release rights to the film earlier this year, with plans to release in 2013 – although no exact date yet. I’m sure the folks at Wrekin Hill realized that with Snipes scheduled to be released this summer, they might be able to capitalize on that somehow by releasing the film soon after Snipes becomes a free man (although no release date has been set). With today’s news, I won’t be surprised if we soon hear that a release date has been set for this summer. Wrekin Hill is a young Los Angeles-based production and distribution company, founded by the former Newmarket Films team of Chris Ball and Rene Cogan. While at Newmarket, Ball and Cogan oversaw production and distribution of indie films like Memento, Donnie Darko, Whale Rider, Monster, and The Passion Of The Christ – all films that were both critical and commercial successes. The company plans to distribute 4 – 5 films theatrically annually, in addition to its home market releases via its recently announced a multi-year US home entertainment distribution deal with Lionsgate.
2 – This was announced the year that he was sentenced to prison, so he never got a chance to develop it. Maybe he’s been working on it from behind bars since then. Snipes was set to produce and co-star in a feature film titled Code Name Zorro, that would explore J. Edgar Hoover’s campaign to discredit Martin Luther King Jr., and the fallout that followed. Snipes did say at the time, that the King family had given him their blessing to pursue the project, which he said would “ask hard questions about how King was persecuted by Hoover’s FBI because the leader viewed the civil rights leader as a threat and a potential impediment to the Vietnam War.” At the center of the story was to be former assistant FBI director William Sullivan, who headed Code Name Zorro – Hoover’s underground program designed to undermine King’s influence during the Civil Rights movement by ruining his reputation. Sullivan orchestrated the wiretapping of King’s phones, and was responsible for giving King’s wife audiotapes of the his conversations with other women. The script was to reportedly take the position that “Sullivan bared Hoover and the bureau’s dirty laundry to journalist friend Jack Taylor for a book Sullivan hoped would expose his boss as a hypocrite and a tyrant. After telling his story, Sullivan was shot and killed – it was called a “hunting accident” – shortly before testifying about the killings of King and John F. Kennedy before the House Select Committee on assassinations.” Snipes was shopping the project around in 2010, trying to attach a director as well as other actors, to create a package that would attract funding. “It’s not so much the persecution angle… I was attracted to the whistleblower dynamic. It’s a challenging situation for a man to be in, to be among the shadowy and most powerful men in the world, who exposed information to mislead the public. What an interesting conflict and life dilemma. It makes for good drama and there are great roles for actors to play these historical figures who are part of a whole story that many of us weren’t aware of,” Snipes said. As for what role he’d play in the film, he never revealed.
3 – Last summer, producer Avi Lerner speaking about The Expendables 3, in an interview with Total Film, revealed that Wesley Snipes had been approached (while he was still in prison) to join the cast of that film. Lerner didn’t say whether it was a done deal however. So we don’t know with certainty that Snipes will be involved in the movie. The film has a tentative 2014 release date, with much of the cast from the last Expendables film returning for a 3rd time. Will Wesley do it? One might think he’d jump at the opportunity to co-star in a high-profile project like this, with all these other stars, especially as a first project right out of prison; but who knows. The film doesn’t have a shoot start date yet, so stay tuned. But with today’s news, he should be able to fit it into his schedule.
4 – In 2011, speaking from prison, in an interview, he revealed that he’ll be collaboration with Lapland Studios to produce and star in a new action video game adaptation of Julius Styles: The International, which Snipes originally planned to make into a feature film, also starring himself, but was convinced to first try to build interest via a video game, which is what he’d done. The game has been available in the Apple AppStore for the iPhone and iPad, and I believe other formats. Has anyone played it? The project had been in development for over 24 months, with the end goal being to create an established brand, making it easier to sell the movie, which was to go into production after Snipes got out of jail. “We know his current situation… We did extensive meetings and conference calls and have gone into such details about the character in the run up to this that all the ground work for the game has been done. We intend to expand upon the game and have multiple episodes over multiple platforms with the aim of creating an established brand. There is absolutely a film in mind for a few years from now and it will be one of the first movies Wesley does after his release,” said Warren Derosa, co-CEO of Elstree Studios Productions, who were also involved in the deal. That was in 2011. Let’s see if this is still alive.
5 – In development since 2010, if not longer, is the animated project titled Omandi Mech 5, which is a futuristic sci-fi action adventure centered around a family of warrior scientists whose son is resurrected in the body of a giant hero robot, called a MECH. Along with the allied freedom fighting forces of N.A.R.A., they battle pre-human evolution beings, who set out to reclaim the surface planet and reduce the earthlings to beasts of burden and food. In 2011, Snipes said that he’d screened about 18 minutes of footage, in motion graphic format, for exec at EA (Electronic Arts), and they loved it. He said no firm deal was in place at the time, but the prospects looked great. The project is based on an animation from the author of Shades of Memnon, Gregory “Brother G” Walker.
6 – Also in 2010, Snipes revealed plans to build a feature film and video game around a graphic novel concept he and director Antoine Fuqua created, titled After Dark. The graphic novel, produced in partnership with Radical Comics, is currently on the market. Clearly he loves the action/sci-fi/fantasy genres, which is great! I’d love to see more projects in those genres with black people starring in them.
7 – Also in 2010, before he went off to the big house, he mentioned that he was shopping around a proposal for a movie called Master Daddy, which he said was “kind of Kung Fu Hustle meets Meet the Parents.” He didn’t reveal anything more than that, so your guess is as good as mine. No word on whether that’s still something he plans to pursue.
8 – Last summer, Spike Lee mentioned on Twitter that he went to visit Wesley Snipes in prison, spending a good 2 hours with him. He said Snipes was in great shape, mentally, physically, and spiritually, adding that both of them talked about collaborating on a project when Snipes got out of prison. Of course speculation began… what could this collab they talked about be, hmm? Heck if I know. It may or may not have been anything specific. It could’ve just been a general conversation about working together again, and nothing concrete settled on. We’ll find out soon enough. The pair have worked together before, and were scheduled to work together again at one point. So of course the likelihood of them collaborating again on a project shouldn’t be a surprise.
In fact, you may recall that the pair was supposed to work together several year ago on a James Brown biopic, but Spike couldn’t get the financing for it. Skip ahead to this January when it was announced that Tate Taylor (director of The Help) would be taking over for Spike on the project, with super producer Brian Grazer still producing, and Mick Jagger joining Grazer as producer. I seriously doubt that, at this stage, Wesley Snipes is on their short list of actors to star in the film.
9 – And finally, as for whether he’d like to return to the Blade franchise when he got out of prison, Snipes said:
Some people forget or overlook my/our contribution to this current trend. The ‘Gaming’ community knows and the streets give us credit, but the movie world frequently plays us like the ‘ugly step child’ or the ‘kitchen help’, especially when the conversation revolves around the ‘boys in tights’ or ‘the bat’. Getting asked this question all the time, my response is: “Under the right circumstances, with the right team, yes, I’d do another one.” But don’t get me wrong, I’m not waiting around for the opportunity. I’ve got plenty to do, plus an unravelled character in the works who I think will give Blade a helluva run for his money. It would be nice to fulfill some of the really cool plans we had for Blade, but didn’t get the chance to go live with.
The franchise didn’t end well, with Blade: Trinity being the worst of the 3. But details on the chaos that was the set of that final film, during which Wesley said he felt disrespected and railroaded, and that the movie sucked as a result, were shared in a post HERE.
Snipes was also previously attached to co-star in Danny Glover’s long-in-development Toussaint L’Ouverture film, although I really don’t think that project will ever be realized – probably not under Glover’s watch. Phillippe Niang was able to get his financed by the French, and it’s currently touring the film festival circuit, with Jimmy Jean-Louis starring.
So that’s it!
Which of the above previously-announced projects will he tackle first? We’ll just have to wait and find out when the man finally speaks for the first time.
But I think I speak for many others when I say that I’m looking forward to seeing him back on the screen again.
Just make sure you pay your taxes this time Wesley. Don’t make them send you away for another 3 years, or longer.
Which of these projects would you like to see him move on first?