Wesley Snipes Talks Martin Luther King, J. Edgar Hoover, And Blade, But Oddly Enough, Says Nothing About Prison

Out of all of the villains he has faced in his illustrious film career, the toughest enemy Wesley Snipes has yet faced turns out to be the federal government. He’s been fighting with the IRS for years, and was recently sentenced to three years in prison (all of a sudden I have a great idea for a screenplay). But Wesley Snipes is a trooper, even facing hard time, he’s still planning to make movies. And Clint Eastwood be damned, Snipes told Deadline the he, too, wants to make a J. Edgar Hoover movie.

Snipes wants to produce Justin Stamm’s script “Code Name Zorro”, which deals with Hoover’s attempts to discredit Martin Luther King Jr. Snipes even sat down with Martin Luther King III to get approval.

“Code Name Zorro” takes an interesting approach into the life of MLK. It’s focus is the final moments in the life of former assistant FBI director William Sullivan, who headed Code Name Zorro, Hoover’s covert program designed to subvert King’s influence over the civil rights movement by tarnishing his reputation. Sullivan was charged with 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. While he was enmeshed in the assignment, Sullivan was gung-ho. After MLK’s famous “I have a dream” speech during the March on DC, Sullivan wrote to Hoover: “We must mark [King] now, if we have not done so before, as the most dangerous Negro of the future in this nation.” He added that it “may be unrealistic to limit ourselves as we have been doing to legalistic proofs or definitely conclusive evidence that would stand up in testimony in court or before Congressional Committees.”

The script takes the position that Sullivan’s conscience about such outrageous behavior caught up to him, and that he admired King’s efforts, but never spoke up before the assassination. He then 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. Right after telling his story, Sullivan was shot and killed—it was called a “hunting accident.”

Snipes says that he is most attracted to the “whistle-blower” dynamic. Rather than focus on the persecution of King, he wants to explore the world of powerful men who operate in secrecy and in the shadows, but who have an immense influence on the world around them.

And just for good measure, Snipes dropped a little nugget that indicates he wants to make another “Blade” movie.

“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,” he said. “How strange that they don’t come and talk to me about it.”

For the love of god, people, go talk to him and make another “Blade” movie before the man goes to prison.