The idea of Wesley Snipes as James Brown is old, right? Yes. Director Spike Lee has been threatening to make a biopic of the hardest working man in showbiz for years (in late 2006 he officially signed on) and even complained last summer that there was a lack of studio interest in the man and other famous African-Americans.
"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."Despite the delays in the project, Lee told MTV at Sundance that the project will happen. “We’re doing it together – it’s going to happen,” the filmmaker said.
But don't expect to be hearing Snipes try and pull off Brown's inimitable voice. It ain't gonna happen and dubs original singing voice will be dubbed in. “I want to hear James Brown’s voice. That’s just my personal taste.” Don't try and convince him otherwise either. “I know Joaquin Phoenix in ‘Walk the Line,’ he did some of the singing, [but] I’m a purist.”
When will it happen? Lee doesn't say and it could be a while, but presumably Lee would be grousing loudly if it didn't look good. Personally, we'd rather see a Jackie Robinson or Joe Louis biopic, because Brown is so bloody distinct, but hell, hopefully they all come to pass at some point.