Wesley Snipes Reflects on 'Blade' Franchise & Its Impact on Current Marvel Studios Success
Photo Credit: S & A

Wesley Snipes Reflects on 'Blade' Franchise & Its Impact on Current Marvel Studios Success


So what went wrong with ‘Trinity’? Rumors were rife of a tempestuous set, with Snipes at loggerheads with writer-turned-director David S Goyer and New Line over creative control. When it came out and flopped, was he disappointed? “I wouldn’t call it a disappointment. More of an expectation.” His reasons for this are pithy to the max. “Bad ingredients going in, bad cake coming out. If you’ve got sour milk going in your cake, you’re going to get sour cake.” A throaty laugh comes out.

Lifted from a profile of the actor in the UK’s Telegraph, this is the first substantive interview Wesley Snipes has given that I’ve read, since his exit from prison earlier this year. There may have been others, but this is the first that I’ve been made aware of. With "The Expendables 3" coming out this weekend, the actor is on the usual press tour, talking to the media about his involvement in that film, but also his legacy as an actor, especially leaning on what arguably helped launch the current superhero franchise craze, his starring role in the mostly successful "Blade" trilogy, based on the Marvel comic.

I say "mostly successful" because the third film was both a critical and commercial flop, and Snipes’ public battle with the studio behind it (New Line Cinema), as well as the director (David Goyer) were public enough to recall.

In a new interview with the UK’s Telegraph, Snipes says that a 4th Blade movie is "very much a possibility," adding that he’d love to work with Guillermo del Toro (director of the second film in the franchise, and the most successful) again, as well as Spike Lee (not necessarily on a 4th Blade film, but on future projects). 

He also reflects on playing the character in 3 movies, and how the franchise helped to inspire the current hits that Marvel Studios is enjoying, stating: “There were empires and institutions that were built off the Blade franchise… I mean, look at Marvel now, to this day. It’s a megalith!” 

he then speculates on how different his career might have been today, had he understood the Blade franchise’s potential, as well as the renewed enthusiasm and popularity for comic book superhero movies today. 

“You know, if I would have understood the potential of… doing, or adapting comic book characters to feature films, and also the tie-in to gaming and digital technology, when I was doing the first Blade films, then I’d be in a different business right now. I’d be in a whole different ball game,” he said, adding, “I still would have done, the, er, you know… er, the dramatic work, and probably had a kind of cushion to do experimental work, because the economics in that kind of business are huge," and further, "More and more people are recognizing the contribution that Blade made to this resurgence, or this model, this new business. At the time when Blade was offered to me, my management and my agents all thought I was out of my mind for doing it. They told me, ‘You know, you’re a classically trained actor. Why would you want to even play a vampire from a comic book?’ I was, ‘Everything you’re saying is right, but here’s the thing – I’ve never seen a movie like this.’”

And so it went… 

The fact that Snipes would later sue New Line Cinema, writer/director David Goyer and Toby Emmerich, executive producer of "Blade: Trinity," in a wide-ranging lawsuit seeking more than $5 million in damages, was certainly a nod to his disgust with the 3rd film in the franchise ("Blade: Trinity"), and his involvement in it.

You might recall that, in the suit, Wesley claimed:

– A violation of his contract.

– That the director (Goyer), the screenplay and the supporting cast were essentially forced on him, and he had no say in any of those choices; especially with the script, which he didn’t care for, objecting to what he called the "juvenile level of humor" in it, as well as the fact that his character, the lead character, whose name is on the marquee, was marginalized, with focus being shifted from Blade to the 2 sidekicks (played by Jessica Biel andRyan Reynolds) – the plan, Snipes claimed, being to set the stage for spinoffs featuring other cast members. 

– Racial discrimination/prejudice against Goyer and the whole production. Specifically, that in contrast to the first two Blade films, in which efforts were made to select a multiracial cast and crew, Goyer and Emmerich "intentionally hired only white people," which Snipes claimed led to him feeling isolated and excluded. He also claimed that Goyer made racially motivated statements about Snipes being unprofessional and difficult to work with, and that Goyer refused to discipline a crew member who wore a racially discriminatory T-shirt on the set.

There was more to the suit, but you get the picture; basically, he felt disrespected and railroaded, and that the movie sucked as a result!

Also worth noting, fans of the franchise who watched and listened to the DVD commentary for "Blade 2" will know that, originally, for "Blade 3," Blade was supposed to have a sex scene in the film, since the first 2 movies didn’t have Blade do the nasty with anyone; that piece of info was revealed by both Snipes & Goyer on the "Blade 2" DVD commentary. And who was he supposed to have sex with? Abigail Whistler, the character played by Jessica Biel. And, as we all know, there was no such sex scene in "Blade: Trinity." What a surprise!

So, yeah, this baby was in the toilet from day 1 it seems, and Wesley didn’t like the smell of any of it.

But can you blame the brotha?

You can read the rest of the Telegraph interview here.

"The Expendables 3" is out this weekend. It marks his first big screen role since his release from prison for tax evasion.