Wesley Snipes Revisits The Time He Wanted To Bring 'Black Panther' To The Screen
Wesley had dibs on 'Black Panther' before Hollywood green lit the idea decades later.
It’s safe to say Black Panther has garnered a cult following within the last few weeks. The highly anticipated Ryan Coogler-directed film is nearly two weeks away, and fundraising efforts are already cemented in place for kids all over the country to watch the movie. Not to mention the star power that’s presiding over the film like Michael B. Jordan, Lupita Nyong’o, Angela Bassett and more.
While the Black Panther film is on everyone’s radar, that wasn’t always the case. Or for that matter, creating an actual Marvel-inspired film about black superheroes wasn’t something that Hollywood thought about or welcomed—except for Wesley Snipes. In the early 90s, the actor was at the top of his game and wanted to make a film directly based on the comic book's storyline.
But evidently, it never happened. Sure, there was Blade, but that didn’t quite suffice to what Snipes had in mind with Black Panther (Chadwick Boseman), which is what Coogler is doing now.
In a recent interview with The Hollywood Reporter, Snipes detailed his original plan for the film, and why it didn’t come to fruition. "I think Black Panther spoke to me because he was noble, and he was the antithesis of the stereotypes presented and portrayed about Africans, African history and the great kingdoms of Africa," Snipes told THR. "It had cultural significance, social significance. It was something that the black community and the white community hadn’t seen before."
Snipes and his then manager Doug Robertson were approached by Marvel about making the film. At the time, he recalls that Warner Brothers was stiff competition because of all the Superman movies the studio was making. Yet instead of making a film about Black Panther, Hollywood executives wanted to politicize the plot, and instead create something based on 1960s civil rights activists and revolutionaries.
"I laid on him my vision of the film being closer to what you see now: the whole world of Africa being a hidden, highly technically advanced society, cloaked by a force field, Vibranium," Snipes explained of the conversation. "John was like, 'Nah! Hah! Hah! See, he’s got the spirit of the Black Panther, but he is trying to get his son to join the [civil rights activist] organization. And he and his son have a problem, and they have some strife because he is trying to be politically correct and his son wants to be a knucklehead.”
Snipes affirmed he appreciates Singleton, but that wasn’t the direction he was going for. "I am loosely paraphrasing our conversation,” Snipes said. “But ultimately, John wanted to take the character and put him in the civil rights movement. And I’m like, 'Dude! Where’s the toys?! They are highly technically advanced, and it will be fantastic to see Africa in this light opposed to how Africa is typically portrayed.' I wanted to see the glory and the beautiful Africa. The jewel Africa."
Nonetheless, you can bet for sure Snipes is as thrilled about Black Panther as we are. Read the full story here.