Why Wesley Snipes Refused to Film Scenes With His "Blade" Co-Stars
Ryan Reynolds and others reportedly acted opposite Snipes' stand-in for 2004's Blade: Trinity.
In 2004, the final chapter in the Blade trilogy premiered in theaters, and it didn't go over as well as the first two. That may be less surprising in light of some of the stories that came from the movie's set. Among other rumored issues, Wesley Snipes reportedly wouldn't film with Ryan Reynolds, Jessica Biel, or their other co-stars on the set of Blade: Trinity. The production had to use some filmmaking tricks so that it appeared that the actors were in the same room, even when they weren't.
Several people involved have opened up about their experience making the vampire superhero movie that left audiences and critics disappointed. Read on to find out what made the shoot such a disaster.
Reynolds said Snipes was Method acting.
In an interview with IGN around the time of the release of the movie, Reynolds explained that Snipes was a Method actor and stayed in character as Blade during the shoot. The Red Notice star, who wasn't in either of the prior two Blade movies, played Hannibal King in Trinity.
"I never met Wesley, I only met Blade, and he is a Method actor," Reynold said. "Say what you want about that style of acting, I have the utmost respect for whatever it takes to get through this process."
Reynolds also said he tried to get Snipes to break character, including by ad libbing. "There's a moment in the movie where I look up at Jessica [Biel] and I swear to God, I didn't even know the cameras were rolling anymore and I say, 'He hates me, doesn't he?' And she's like, 'Yeah.' I'm just saying this about my relationship as Ryan Reynolds to this guy, and it works. The ad libs are just born of that."
He added, "There's another one where I do a dime-store psychoanalysis of him where I say, 'You ever thought about sitting down and talking with someone, getting in touch with your inner child, and also you might want to try blinking once in a while.' He just looks at me like he's gonna turn me into [expletive] pulp."
Snipes challenged his co-stars' claims.
Snipes, on the other hand, denied that he was utilizing Method acting on the film. In a 2018 interview with Snipes, Vice brought up Patton Oswalt, another co-star who had talked about Snipes' so-called Method acting. "False," Snipes responded. "You gotta look at the source of information." He added, "I didn't know Patton Oswalt was a Method actor. Would he know the difference?"
In a 2020 interview with The Guardian, Snipes was again asked about the rumors of him being difficult on the production, with Oswalt's quotes as a starting point. ("Wesley was just [expletive] crazy in a hilarious way … he tried to strangle [director] David Goyer," the other actor had said.)
"This is part of the challenges that we as African Americans face here in America—these microaggressions," Snipes responded. "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."
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Snipes stopped showing up to set, reports say.
According to Oswalt's interview with The A.V. Club in 2012, Snipes stopped showing up on set. He appeared in close-ups and solo shots, but otherwise, his co-stars acted with his stand-in instead.
"A lot of the lines that Ryan Reynolds has were just a result of Wesley not being there," Oswalt said. "We would all just think of things for him to say and then cut to Wesley's face not doing anything because that's all we could get from him. It was kind of funny."
Asked by Vice if he really stayed in his trailer the whole time, Snipes replied, "False."
Snipes also was said to have communicated via Post-It notes.
Oswalt said that after a confrontation with director Goyer, Snipes began communicating with him solely via Post-It notes. "And he would sign each Post-it note 'From Blade,'" the comedian claimed. Snipes confirmed that this was at least partially true.
"That may have happened. I wouldn't say it was frequent," he told Vice. "Because our whole crew was banished to another side of the island of production. The only way we could sometimes get messages, since we didn't have the radio, was to get it there by courier or pigeon sometimes [laughs]."
The director said the production was "painful."
Goyer—who also wrote the first two movies, but didn't direct them—spoke to Uproxx about the troubled shoot in 2016.
"That was the most personally and professionally difficult and painful thing I've ever been through," Goyer said of Blade: Trinity. "Having said that, I have incredibly fond memories of working with Ryan [Reynolds] and Jessica [Biel] and a lot of people on the movie. Ryan and I remain really good friends today. It was a challenged shoot, as has been reported. What can I say?"
Vice asked Snipes if he'd spoken at all to Goyer since filming. "Mhmm. I think we talked sometimes, somehow, somewhere," he said. "I don't fault him. I don't fault anybody. That's just what it was, man. Nobody thought that the Blade stuff was gonna pop off in the first place. It was an anomaly. All of it was an anomaly."