Wesley Snipes was most certainly one of the top action heroes of his era, and a strong Black lead actor at a time where Hollywood didn’t enjoy the diversity we’re just now seeing today. According to a new interview, Snipes wanted to bring Marvel’s Black Panther movie to the big screen but was beset with issues that couldn’t make the project take off.
Sitting down with The Hollywood Reporter for the exclusive chat, Snipes, now 55, reveals details of the long-rumored film for the first time. Snipes, who did bring a popular Marvel character Blade to life, had some grand ideas for the film but it may have been too advanced for the times.
“Black Panther is an iconic character who much of the world was unfamiliar with and the communities that I grew up in would love,” Snipes says. “Look, from the days of William Marshall playing Blacula in the 1970s black flicks and the fervor you found inside the black and Hispanic communities, it never crossed my mind that the audience wouldn’t be down with it.”
With Stan Lee’s blessing (“He was supportive of the Black Panther project at the time.”), Snipes was ready.
But right off the bat, there was an issue. The initial struggle, as Snipes explains, was explaining to the uninitiated that he was trying to make a movie about the comic book superhero Black Panther, not the 1960s civil rights revolutionaries. “They think you want to come out with a black beret and clothing and then there’s a movie,” he says, sounding exhausted.
Snipes added that the resistance and misunderstanding of what Black Panther also tanked the project On a short list of directors, Mario Van Peebles and John Singleton were names thrown into the mix. Snipes recalls a hilarious discussion between him and Singleton in where the entire plot idea of Black Panther and the technologically-advanced world of Wakanda was thrown out in favor of trying to make T’Challa a civil rights revolutionary.
Read the entire chat here.