FROM THE ARCHIVE: Wesley Snipes in “The Fan”
Posted on December 2, 2011
Actor Wesley Snipes wears a San Francisco Giants uniform as Bobby Raybrun as he films a scene for the motion picture “The Fan” before a game at Candlestick Park in San Francisco, California in 1994. (Photo by Brad Mangin)
You never know what you might find when you go through thousands of slide pages representing almost 20 years of shooting sports. As I have been working on my ongoing archiving project I have been through my slides many times looking for the best stuff to get scanned. Each time I go through my old stuff I pull some different chromes. Sometimes it depends on the mood I am in. Sometimes I pull goofy stuff just so I will be the only human being on the planet with a nice collection of Marvin Benard images. During my recent captioning binge in which I added 510 images from old chromes into my archive I came upon some stuff that made me smile. That’s right movie buffs, I know have seven nice frames of actor Wesley Snipes in my archive playing Bobby Rayburn while filming scenes from “The Fan” at Candlestick Park in 1994.
I remember reading about this movie that was coming out surrounding a prickly superstar who played for the San Francisco Giants. The obvious comparisons to Barry Bonds were apparent from the start when the plot of this film became public. The Hollywood folks said no, but all you had to do was look at the way Snipes acted in the movie and see his earring to imagine this film being renamed “Crazy fan tries to kill Barry Bonds.”
My mind is pretty sketchy sometimes and my memories of shooting these images of Snipes during filming before a few Giants games in the summer of 1994. I do remember him going up to the plate in some real bad light around 12:30 as they tried to lighten his very dark face with a big fill card (see below). I shot a few frames of this scene from the the first base photo well at Candlestick and wondered how they could possibly make Snipes look like a good ballplayer. He had earlier played Willie Mays Hayes in the fun movie “Major League” but all he did in the film was run around and look terrible at the plate. I was anxious to see this movie come out, but I would have to wait a few years before it’s release on August 16, 1996. You bet I went to the theater to see this!
This was a BAD movie. Oh sure, I got a kick out of it. It was fun seeing my Giants on the big screen in real uniforms playing in a torrential downpour at The Stick. Snipes WAS Barry Bonds, and Robert Di Nero as the crazy fan was nuts and scary. Mandalay Entertainment and others spent $55 million on this picture, and only saw $18,573,791 in box office returns. OUCH.
Somehow the folks at Major League Baseball signed off on this script and allowed the film to use their trademarked logos and colors (uniforms) to make the film look real. I am sure they were horrified when the film came out and they saw how bad this movie was. How could MLB ever be involved in such a creepy film that did not celebrate the game? I can promise you that someone got in big trouble over this, and it will never happen again.
Where is Bobby Rayburn, I mean Wesley Snipes now? He is currently being held at the Federal Correctional Institution, McKean, a medium security federal prison in Pennsylvania, and is scheduled for release on July 19, 2013. Why is he there? For willfully failing to file federal income tax returns. If anyone out there is doing a rags-to-riches-to-rags documentary about Snipes let me know. I can hook you up with some exclusive images from my archive!