Wesley Snipes may be facing a stint in prison due to his discrepancies with the IRS, but that hasn’t prevented him from picking up a historical project titled Code Name Zorro under his Maandi Media Productions banner.
The Blade actor plans to produce and possibly even play a role in the Justin Stamm-scripted Code Name Zorro, the name of which was the title designated to FBI founder J. Edgar Hoover’s covert smear campaign against civil rights activist Martin Luther King Jr. back in the 1960s.
While Clint Eastwood already has his Hoover biopic in motion, the Snipes-produced project differs in that it will reportedly revolve primarily around the experiences of former assistant FBI director William Sullivan, who was responsible for heading Code Name Zorro.
Sullivan eventually revealed the truth about his and the bureau’s actions to journalist Jack Taylor, but was killed in a hunting accident – the timing of which is naturally considered highly suspicious by conspiracy theorists – before he could testify about both the M.L.K. and J.F.K. assassinations in front of the U.S. House Select Committee.
Snipes is currently looking to bring director and cast onboard for Code Name Zorro before he sets out to seek additional financing for the film. A separate Martin Luther King Jr. biopic has been gestating for a while now, but Snipe’s project looks like it could actually reach theaters first.
The basic premise of Code Name Zorro – i.e., a government man who wiretaps and spies on individuals finds himself wracked with a guilty conscience over his actions – proved to be an engaging basis for the 2006 Oscar-winning foreign film The Lives of Others from director Florian Henckel-Donnersmarck (The Tourist) and – much further back – in Francis Ford Coppola’s 1974 classic The Conversation as well. That does not guarantee that Code Name Zorro will follow in those films’ footsteps, but it’s certainly an encouraging sign.
Even if Snipes has to withdraw from producing Code Name Zorro due to, well, the whole jail sentence thing, the project should still eventually see the light of day. Films that explore the darker side of history tend to thrive during awards season and a story that explores the conflict between two of the most famous public figures alive during the last fifty years – if done well – could definitely be a hit with critics.
We’ll keep you posted on the development of Code Name Zorro as more news comes our way.