Why Hollywood Won’t Cast Wesley Snipes Anymore

Once upon a time, American actor and martial
artist Wesley Snipes was the most in-demand action star in show business—and for good
reason. Snipes’ unique ability to be both athletic
and charming led to some very successful performances. These days, however, Hollywood doesn’t seem
to give him much work anymore, and here’s why. Hitting it big Wesley Snipes’ career got off to a blazing
start when he landed the role of Willie Mays Hayes, the swift-footed base-stealer in the
baseball-comedy classic Major League. But while that showcase of quick wit might’ve
been a home run with casting directors, he let his overnight fame get to his head a little
too quickly. “I plan to put on a hitting display.” Snipes reportedly turned down the chance to
star in the sequel, Major League II, which ticked off some of his co-stars. Corbin Bernsen, for one, said of the diss, “I said, ‘Hey, man, they’re gonna make Major
League II!’ And he was like, ‘You’re gonna do that?’ And I thought, ‘Wow, how quickly they forget.’ He’d become Wesley Snipes. That rubbed me the wrong way.” Although Snipes had earned the ire of his
Major League team, he did earn quite a few grand slams right out of the dugout, including
Jungle Fever, White Men Can’t Jump, Passenger 57, Demolition Man, and Murder at 1600. But while he was never a critical darling,
despite his box office prowess, his career started to cool once a pattern of legal problems
began to emerge. Facing handcuffs Snipes’ first brush with the law wasn’t his
fault. In 1991, he was arrested while driving a car
leased by his production company and claimed he was assaulted and humiliated by the police
as a result of racial profiling. But Snipes’ second major run-in with the law
was brought on, this time, by legitimate reasons—and would put a dent in the actor’s professional
reputation. In August 1993, Snipes was cited for carrying
a concealed weapon loaded with half a dozen rounds of hollow point bullets, after a fender-bending
motorcycle accident in Hollywood. Snipes received two years of unsupervised
probation and was fined $2,700. The following year, Snipes’ reputation as
a law-abiding citizen decreased even further when the actor led a Florida state trooper
on a 120 mile-per-hour high-speed chase, which ended in the action star crashing his motorcycle. Snipes got off with a citation for reckless
driving and refused medical treatment, but his reputation was immediately damaged by
the unusual incident. Bouncing back Just when it seemed like Snipes’ run-ins with
the law and string of less-than-stellar performances were on the brink of completely bankrupting
his career, the action star bounced back with his most iconic role yet: the title vampire-slaying
superhero in Blade. Despite only receiving mediocre critical reviews,
the film was a massive success, spawning a pair of sequels and cementing Snipes as both
a household name and bona fide action hero. After the commercial success of Blade, Snipes’s
career was on the upswing again. Unfortunately for him, that second rise was
followed by an even bigger fall. Falling again After Blade, the actor starred in a string
of films that failed to court the same kind of audience as his earlier pics. First up was The Art of War, which was a massive
failure, both critically and commercially. Then there was ZigZag and Undisputed, which
dug the hole even deeper. The final nail in the coffin for Snipes was
Blade: Trinity. In addition to being the least-liked film
in the series, it all but ensured major studios would never work with Snipes again—especially
after Snipes filed a lawsuit against New Line Cinema and the filmmakers to the tune of $5
million. Snipes alleged the filmmakers and supporting
cast were all approved without his express consent, which violated his contract. He also claimed writer-director David Goyer
made racist remarks regarding Snipes’ professionalism and refused to punish a crew member who wore
a racist T-shirt while filming. On top of that, Snipes claimed New Line Cinema
intentionally hired only white individuals, still owed him $3 million, and didn’t help
the actor obtain a tax exemption. Co-star Patton Oswalt, however, claimed that
Snipes was a problem during production. “And Wesley Snipes was going crazy, and he
wouldn’t come out of his trailer…” “He would only answer to the name Blade.” After that, Oswalt said, Snipes attempted
to force director David Goyer to resign from the film. But his biggest problems were only beginning
to take shape. Uncle Sam slam Perhaps the most notorious reas on Wesley
Snipes’ career soured is that he was convicted on three misdemeanor counts for failing to
file three years’ worth of tax returns, which apparently cheated Uncle Sam out of $7 million. The prosecution blamed Snipes for following
the advice of both his accountant and another firm anti-tax proponent. Snipes, who had already paid millions of dollars
in taxes, was sentenced to three years in prison in 2008, before being transferred to
the New York Community Corrections Office for home confinement. As soon as Snipes got out of prison, the IRS
piled on the civil tax collections, arguing that the actor owed them close to $18 million. Snipes decided he had enough, and filed a
lawsuit against the government’s tax collection agency. Snipes argued that the IRS was just arbitrarily
throwing out figures in an effort to collect as much money as possible. Time for a turnaround? Though Snipes doesn’t get very many big-time
movie offers anymore, he still gets plenty of small-time movie offers. Most recently, he starred in 2017’s Armed
Response and The Recall. He also had a role in The Expendables 3—which
served to put Snipes’ name back into a big-budget film. Even more promising, Snipes played Cyclops
in Spike Lee’s Chi-Raq which is undoubtedly the best project to involve the actor in recent
decades. “Okay, okay, them 30 poppers?” He’s also shown a new interest in dancing
and musical theater lately. “Doing movies was cool but it still wasn’t
fulfilling what I wanted to do—even to this day. If I have a choice between doing a movie or
doing a dance show, I’ll do the dance show first.” On top of that, he’s also been busy writing
what he hopes will ultimately be a trilogy of books, the first of which—Talon of God—is
on shelves now. All thing considered, it’s not the time to
write off Wesley Snipes. Not yet. Thanks for watching! Click the Looper icon to subscribe to our
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