Image Credit: Bob Charlotte/PR Photos; Mark Dye/PR PhotosIf, like us, you read the Variety headline “Snipes, Lawrence join ‘Havana Heat'” and needed to know more about the indie action film costarring Wesley Snipes and Joey Lawrence shooting this November, prepare to be very happy. Producer James Ordonez, president of Tayrona Entertainment Group, just gave EW some serious details about the movie and its efforts to be the next Expendables (yes, offers are out to Chuck Norris and Jean-Claude Van Damme!).
• We begin with the plot: “Havana is a mysterious, sensuous city with gorgeous architecture, white Caribbean beaches, hot, pulsating music, vintage American automobiles and some of the most beautiful women in the world. CID Special Agent Sean Franklin [Lawrence] and his partner, gung-ho rookie, NCIS Special Agent Brianna Evans [Fighting‘s Zulay Henao] are assigned undercover in Havana after another agent is murdered. At the same time, a heavyweight fight between American Ruben Palace and Cuba’s Kid Carlos becomes an international incident when a girl Ruben meets in a salsa club is found dead. Sean and Brenda team up with National Revolutionary Police Force Detective Jose Aguillerra to uncover the mystery behind both crimes.”
• Where does Snipes come in? “Snipes plays Major Evans, Sean Franklin’s boss and father of his assigned rookie partner…. Major Evans coordinates all the infiltration operation in Cuba and will engage once he finds out his best man and daughter are in danger,” Ordonez says. What made producers think to pair Lawrence and Snipes? “As a coincidence with The Expendables, Havana Heat was put together as a retro ’80s action all-star movie. We were looking for a very big teen 1990s idol who still is young and fresh to play the lead action role, and Joey Lawrence was the perfect candidate,” he says. “Wesley Snipes is one of the most recognized action stars of all times… so it was perfect to put them together.”
• This all-star movie may include Jean-Claude Van Damme. “Raul Julia-Levy, son of late Raul Julia is also part of the cast, and he’s personally convincing Jean-Claude Van Damme to join the cast as well in order to have a major fighting scene that will reprise the final fight between Van Damme and Raul Julia in the 1994 action flick Street Fighter, which was Raul Julia’s final movie,” Ordonez says. Julia-Levy plays a Cuban driver with a secret, and Van Damme is being courted for the role of Mikhail Guzman, a hardcore criminal and human trafficker. Producers are also in talks with Chuck Norris (to play Commander Winston, Snipes’ superior) and The Terminator‘s Michael Biehn (to play Warrant Office Pelski, who’s been training Henao at GITMO). Whether or not those three deals get signed, the confirmed supporting players include: The Expendables’ Randy Couture as Bruno Bresler, the manager of the American boxer (who’ll be played by UFC fighter Heath Herring); La Femme Nikita‘s Peta Wilson as Captain Camille Davenport, who’s been helping Lawrence’s character, on bereavement leave when he gets the call to Cuba, work through his troubled past; American Ninja‘s Michael Dudikoff as Lawrence’s ex-partner who gets shot in Cuba; Zorro: La Telenovela‘s Lorena Rincon as the assassin; and Bollywood star Nicholas Brown (Kites) as a criminal involved in extortion and gambling.
The goal is a theatrical release next summer. What do you think?