March 2002
DOING IT AGAIN : BLADE 2

Interviewed by Wilson Morales

DOING IT AGAIN : BLADE 2

If there's one person who's been successful in one genre, itís Wesley Snipes. With the exception of "Waterdance", most of Wesley's films have been action filled. "Waiting to Exhale" doesn't count because he didn't play a major role in it. From "Major League" to "White Men Can't Jump" to "Money Train", Wesley has demonstrated many acrobatic and athletic skills. With the success of "Blade", a sequel was inevitable. As the release of "Blade 2" comes to theaters, Wesley spoke to blackfilm.com about the sequel.



WM: WHY ARE YOU DOING BLADE AGAIN?


WS: It was a little easier. He was more relaxed, and I very much wanted that. And he's a little more laid back and comfortable with himself now. He appreciates his bi-racial nature! So he's like, you know, it's all good. I suck blood and I kick ass. So that opened him up more than the first Blade. I thought in the first one, Blade was just a little tight. You know, a little stiff. So we were trying something new. But it was really a delicate issue, because the real fans of the Blade comic book liked that Blade was no joking, and hard. Like I hated everything and everybody, look at me, that kind of thing. So I wanted the second Blade to have a lot more fun.


WM: DID YOU RECEIVE ANY BRUISES WHILE FILMING?


WS: This is the first movie I've ever shed blood on. Literally. I got stabbed through the hand. Then I got my knee blown out, and I lost cartilage in my knee. And I got hit in the nose, and got my lip busted. I got hit in the groin, and they stepped on my toe. All of it. But it was all worth it. Absolutely.


WM: DO YOU HAVE OPENING DAY NERVOUSNESS?


WS: I just hope the ladies like it. Most ladies don't like that comic book action stuff, they're not really into that. Then you worry with a string of films about a character, that audiences may find it difficult to accept when you deviate from what is already established about him. But there has to be some growth.


WM: DID YOU DO LOTS OF TRAINING FOR THE ROLE?


WS: I train pretty much all the time anyway. I'm always somewhere in shape, within the range of being in shape. So I can buff it up, slim it down, or tighten it up. You know, depending on what the role is. The only thing I did a little different and focused on a little more for this movie, was the use of the sword. You know, that's where you can kill somebody! But we wanted to establish from the beginning that this would be a much more urban world he lived in. And that Blade listened to very grass roots, real types of things, and that kind of music. Like those Hong Kong movements don't really work in the alleys of Harlem. So most everything is Wes and his team, rather than Hong Kong movement. Usually we start off with a skeleton idea and say okay, we want this kind of energy. And then we lay out the movements. Then when I come in I say okay, let's do it this way, and enhance that. And give me two more guys over that way. But wait a minute, Blade wouldn't do that, he's gonna do it this way. Then I try to bring the emotional content back to it. Not only in terms of energy, but in terms of attitude as well. And once rehearsals start, it's on. By then, we're all ready to go. And the ideas just start flowing.



WM: WHAT CAN YOU SAY ABOUT THE DIRECTOR?


WS: Guillermo is a strong filmmaker, especially when it comes to horror and suspense. He knows how to build the suspense, and he knows how to scare you. His imagination is pretty out there. All of that comes out of the mind of Guillermo del Toro. So you can't go wrong when you're working with people who are really seasoned in what they do best. When you work with real filmmakers, chances are you're going to have something at the end of the day. Regardless of what genre it is, that foundation is already there.


WM: WHAT'S THE APPEAL OF PLAYING THIS CHARACTER?


WS: The whole martial arts side of it, that was my personal thing. But I never approached it from an angle like wow, maybe one day I'll be able to do this in the movies. And even while I was training at the State University of NY in Purchase, I didn't try to include martial arts in the acting side of my life. I never thought it was going to go down like that. But I've been training since I was twelve. And I've trained in a number of styles, under some really great teachers. A lot of them come from Harlem. Then one day it's like I'm acting. And they tell me, what do you want to do? I say, well maybe we'll shoot a reverse punch in there, like that. But I approached Blade from this angle, without losing any of that like stern and cold-blooded animal nature. And to find a real balance between his human side, and his animal vampire side. We knew that if we got a shot at doing Blade, we were going to bring on the components and elements that are always so missing. And that we feel we're missing as fans of these kinds of films, that we go to the movies and see. And if we have that kind of sensibility, the chances are that other people will agree. You know, they'll be happy to say, finally I'm seeing something that makes sense. And I think that's what people saw in the first one. You know, the style, the fashion and the music. And the hybrid nature of all the different genres, the comedy, the action, and the martial arts. And a brother doing it. I mean, they had so much on the plate. So we were really hoping for the second one, to get that second shot at it.



WM: DO YOU HAVE ANY MARTIAL ARTS INTEREST?


WS: It depends what I like, for different things. I love all of the Chinese systems for line and beauty, and flexibility. And now all of this ancient Egyptian and Indonesian stuff that we're doing. But the African systems are deadly. You know, you've gotta train like cats fighting cats in the jungle, jumping out of bushes and that kind of stuff.


WM: WHAT'S NEXT?


WS: I'm in "Undisputed", me and Ving Rhames. Ving plays the heavyweight champion of the world. Then he's accused of a rape, and put in prison. And these gangsters come up with a good idea. They say, what would happen if you pit the light heavyweight champion on the inside, with the heavyweight champion of the outside? Who really is the undisputed champion? So we go at it. Then they do their all their little gangster manipulations, and we end up fighting. So you gotta imagine that, Wes and Ving in the ring.


WM: WILL YOU DO BLADE 3?


WS: We're already talking. They're trying to put the story together and inking the paper right now.