Snipes to play James Brown?
What's more is that Wesley Snipes could be playing James Brown in a Spike Lee biographical film. Now is it just me or does that really attack the senses? I'm really not sure that Snipes could pull off the role of the Godfather of Soul, and I'm not just talking about the voice, after all Lee says he wants to dub in Brown's singing voice.
There's also the fact that Spike Lee is wanting to make the film. Does that mean it's going to get all the usual Lee touches, or will he tone it all down and try and create a faithful biographical film?
Right now I can't even think of someone that is really suited to playing a href="http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/James_Brown" title="James Brown on Wikipedia" target="_blank">James Brown more though. I would suggest Eddie Murphy, his time in Dreamgirls suggested there was much more left in the actor over his factory conveyor belt comic performances. I honestly can't make the mental connection from Wesley Snipes to James Brown.
The story comes from MTV through Rolling Stone and Latino Review and it opens suggesting that Spike Lee wants to make the film, not that it's actually happening. However the original article in MTV says something quite different, that it's pretty much what's happening, and that's Lee's take on it too.
“We’re doing it together – it’s going to happen...He’s my man...”
Well it's not a stream of positives, but it's pretty certain that's what Lee wants to do.
We heard about the film way back in December of 2006 when Lee was originally attached to direct, but since then the news has been in dribs and drabs. Apparently the news was out in 2007 that Snipes was set to play Brown, against the judgement of Brown himself who also wanted Eddie Murphy, well according to Murphy himself:
"James Brown said to me years ago, 'If they ever do my life, you got to play my story...I said, 'James, if I do you, people will be laughing.' (He said) 'They ain't gonna laugh if you don't try to be funny."
However in June of last year Spike Lee was saying that the film was struggling, particularly as part of a musical legend trilogy:
"I have a black-biopic, no-money trilogy: Jackie Robinson. Joe Louis and James Brown. Those are three films I have scripts for and am trying to get done but have been unsuccessful so far. They (studio bosses) don't think there's a market for it, they're not interested. Or they think it costs too much. So that's one of those reasons why studios don't make anything."
So it looks like it's moving ahead at least, there's no real indication of when it will happen but there's one clear point, James Brown's voice will be heard, not Snipes, and that's from the director himself:
“I want to hear James Brown’s voice...That’s just my personal taste...I’m a purist”
Of course that's what they did in Ray, but Walk the Line (Filmstalker review) was somewhat different. Personally I don't think we can get a great film presence to play the character and carry off that voice, especially not Snipes.