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Among the many topics addressed by writer-producer-director David S. Goyer in The Hollywood Reporter‘s deep-dive career retrospective interview published Thursday is that whole Wesley Snipes fight rumor.
The backstory: In 2012, Patton Oswalt (yes, he’s in this story too — didn’t see that coming, right?) told The AV Club about his experience working on the third Blade film, 2004’s much-maligned Blade: Trinity. Oswalt claimed star Snipes “was just fucking crazy in a hilarious way” and “wouldn’t come out of his trailer” and only came to the set for close-ups. “Everything else was done by his stand-in.”
“And he tried to strangle the director, David Goyer,” Oswalt added. “We went out that night to some strip club, and we were all drinking. And there were a bunch of bikers there, so David says to them, ‘I’ll pay for all your drinks if you show up to set tomorrow and pretend to be my security.’ Wesley freaked out and went back to his trailer. And the next day, Wesley sat down with David and was like, ‘I think you need to quit. You’re detrimental to this movie.’ And David was like, ‘Why don’t you quit? We’ve got all your close-ups, and we could shoot the rest with your stand-in.’ And that freaked Wesley out so much that, for the rest of the production, he would only communicate with the director through Post-it notes. And he would sign each Post-it note ‘From Blade.'”
When Goyer — who also wrote the script for 1998’s original Blade, as well as its hit sequel — was asked about this anecdote, he replied: “Let’s just say I have tremendous respect for Wesley as an actor. He used to be a friend. We’re not friends anymore. I am friends with Patton and I worked with Patton since so … I don’t think anyone involved in that film had a good experience on that film, certainly I didn’t. I don’t think anybody involved with that film is happy with the results. It was a very tortured production.”
Does this add more detail to the anecdote? Not at all. But is it also not denying it and nodding vaguely in the direction of Oswalt’s account? It seems to be, yes.
Snipes, meanwhile, has denied Oswalt’s account. “If I had tried to strangle David Goyer, you probably wouldn’t be talking to me now,” Snipes said in 2020. “A Black guy with muscles strangling the director of a movie is going to jail, I guarantee you. … Did I go to jail for strangling him? Never happened. This is part of the challenges that we as African Americans face here in America — these microaggressions. The presumption that one white guy can make a statement and that statement stands as true. Why would people believe his version is true? Because they are predisposed to believing the Black guy is always the problem. And all it takes is one person, Mr. Oswalt, who I really don’t know. I can barely remember him on the set, but it’s fascinating that his statement alone was enough to make people go: ‘Yeah, you know Snipes has got a problem.'”
In Goyer’s complete in-depth interview, he also discusses his work on The Dark Knight, Man of Steel, The Tomorrow War, and his upcoming “big-ass swing” projects, including Netflix’s Sandman and Apple TV+’s Foundation.
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