8 Surprising Facts About Wesley Snipes

Wesley Snipes.
Wesley Snipes.
Samir Hussein, Getty Images

From dramatic actor to romantic leading man to vampire hunter, Wesley Snipes has made a career out of showcasing his versatility. After making his film debut in the 1986 Goldie Hawn comedy Wildcats, Snipes went on to earn accolades in critically-acclaimed dramas like 1991’s New Jack City as well as blockbuster movies like 1992’s Demolition Man opposite Sylvester Stallone. For more on Snipes, including his desire to become Marvel’s Black Panther years before it made it to the screen, keep reading.

1. Wesley Snipes originally wanted to be a dancer.

Born in Orlando, Florida, on July 11, 1962, Wesley Snipes came from a divorced family. His mother, a teacher’s aide, and his father, an aircraft engineer, separated when he was just 1 year old. After relocating to the Bronx with his mother and sister, Snipes gravitated toward physical activities like basketball, dancing, and martial arts. Though he was successful in talent shows and even scored a small role in an off-Broadway play, The Me Nobody Knows, when he was just 12 years old, Snipes believed his future was as a professional dancer. He enrolled in acting at the High School of Performing Arts intending to pursue both but quickly found that acting was more rewarding. When his family moved back to Orlando—he missed out on an opportunity to be cast in the 1980 dance film Fame, which used many students from the High School of Performing Arts—Snipes excelled in the drama department of Jones High School and also participated in a street theater ensemble, Struttin’ Street Stuff, that used puppets and could bring in up to $70 a week.

After graduating from the University of New York at Purchase and their competitive theater arts program, Snipes was cast in the 1986 Goldie Hawn film Wildcats as well as several stage productions, including the Broadway play Execution of Justice. In a foreshadowing of his role in 1996’s Too Wong Foo, Thanks for Everything! Julie Newmar, Snipes played a drag queen named Sister Boom-Boom.

2. Wesley Snipes was considered for Star Trek: The Next Generation.

Snipes was still a few years away from achieving stardom in films like 1989’s Major League and 1991’s Jungle Fever when he was reportedly placed on a shortlist of candidates for the role of Geordi La Forge in Star Trek: The Next Generation. After the casting sheet surfaced in 2010, LeVar Burton—who ultimately was hired to play La Forge—confirmed on Twitter that the information was accurate.

3. Wesley Snipes may have cost Keanu Reeves the co-starring role in White Men Can’t Jump.

Wesley Snipes and Woody Harrelson at the 1998 premiere of The Hi-Lo Country.Dan Callister/Hulton Archive/Getty Images

Snipes had already worked with actor Woody Harrelson (Cheers) on Wildcats when the two were being considered for the lead roles in director Ron Shelton’s 1992 basketball hustler comedy White Men Can’t Jump. Snipes was cast in the role of Sidney Deane first—in part because Harrelson endorsed him to Shelton—while Harrelson was among one of many actors up for the role of Billy Hoyle. When Snipes was asked to audition with Keanu Reeves, Snipes said he purposely made it awkward for Reeves to make sure the audition went poorly so Harrelson’s chances would improve. “[Reeves] would improvise and say something where there would be a natural response from me, and I just left him out there like dirty laundry,” he told Entertainment Weekly in 1992. Harrelson eventually got the part.

4. Wesley Snipes almost played Black Panther.

Following its release in 2018, Black Panther became one of the biggest films to come out of Marvel Studios. Chadwick Boseman played T’Challa, the king of Wakanda, a role he has reprised in other Marvel films. But the character almost appeared onscreen decades earlier, with Snipes in the role. In 2018, Snipes told The Hollywood Reporter that Marvel had approached him about the movie in the early 1990s. Script and production issues halted the project, however, and Snipes went on to star as another Marvel hero, the vampire hunter Blade.

5. Wesley Snipes almost fought Joe Rogan in a UFC bout.

In 2005, comedian and Ultimate Fighting Championship color commentator Joe Rogan was approached about fighting Snipes in a real mixed martial arts match. According to Rogan, Snipes was looking to alleviate a tax debt by securing a bout against fellow action star Jean-Claude Van Damme, but promoters wanted Snipes to face someone else. Rogan, a black belt in Tae Kwon Do and Brazilian jiu-jitsu, agreed but said Snipes ultimately changed his mind. The fight never took place.

6. Wesley Snipes refused to open his eyes for a scene in Blade: Trinity.

Jessica Biel, Wesley Snipes, and Ryan Reynolds in Blade: Trinity (2004).New Line Cinema

Snipes found the biggest financial success of his career with the Blade film series. Based on the Marvel Comics character, a human-vampire hybrid, the original 1998 movie spawned two sequels, 2002’s Blade II and 2004’s Blade: Trinity. The third film was reportedly difficult to make due to disagreements between Snipes and director David S. Goyer. According to Goyer’s DVD commentary for the film, Snipes even refused to open his eyes during one take, forcing the production to use digital visual effects to finish the scene and make it appear as though Snipes was awake.

7. Wesley Snipes wrote a novel.

In 2017, Snipes released Talon of God, a novel described as a “spiritual thriller” about a warrior named Talon who teams with a doctor to stop a demon from taking over Earth. Co-written with Ray Norman, the book received positive critical reviews. USA Today called it “a pretty entertaining supernatural adventure.”

8. Wesley Snipes lost out on Coming to America, but he’s in Coming 2 America.

Wesley Snipes and Eddie Murphy at the Critics' Choice Association's Celebration of Black Cinema.Michael Kovac/Getty Images for Niche Imports

While doing press for 2019’s Dolemite Is My Name, Snipes revealed that he had auditioned for the role of Darryl Jenks, the heir to the Soul Glo fortune in the 1988 Eddie Murphy comedy Coming to America. Snipes lost the part to Eriq La Salle, which he said hit him hard.

“I really wanted to be in the movie,” Snipes said. “I really wanted to work with [Eddie Murphy] and I was really contemplating what my purpose in life was after losing that to Eriq La Salle.” Things have come full circle for Snipes, as he ultimately worked with Murphy in Dolemite Is My Name and was also cast in Coming 2 America, which is expected to be released in December 2020.

14 Retro Gifts for Millennials

Ravi Palwe, Unsplash
Ravi Palwe, Unsplash

Millennials were born between 1981 and 1996, which means the pop culture they grew up with is officially retro. No matter what generation you belong to, consider these gifts when shopping for the Millennials in your life this holiday season.

1. Reptar Funko Pop!; $29

Amazon

This vinyl Reptar figurine from Funko is as cool as anything you’d find in the rugrats’ toy box. The monster dinosaur has been redesigned in classic Pop! style, making it a perfect desk or shelf accessory for the grown-up Nickelodeon fan. It also glows in the dark, which should appeal to anyone’s inner child.

Buy it: Amazon

2. Dragon Ball Z Slippers; $20

Hot Topic

You don’t need to change out of your pajamas to feel like a Super Saiyan. These slippers are emblazoned with the same kanji Goku wears on his gi in Dragon Ball Z: one for training under King Kai and one for training with Master Roshi. And with a soft sherpa lining, the footwear feels as good as it looks.

Buy it: Hot Topic

3. The Pokémon Cookbook; $15

Hop Topic

What do you eat after a long day of training and catching Pokémon? Any dish in The Pokémon Cookbook is a great option. This book features more than 35 recipes inspired by creatures from the Pokémon franchise, including Poké Ball sushi rolls and mashed Meowth potatoes.

Buy it: Hot Topic

4. Lisa Frank Activity Book; $5

Urban Outfitters

Millennials will never be too old for Lisa Frank, especially when the artist’s playful designs come in a relaxing activity book. Watercolor brings the rainbow characters in this collection to life. Just gather some painting supplies and put on a podcast for a relaxing, nostalgia-fueled afternoon.

Buy it: Urban Outfitters

5. Shoebox Tape Recorder with USB; $28

Amazon

The days of recording mix tapes don’t have to be over. This device looks and functions just like tape recorders from the pre-smartphone era. And with a USB port as well as a line-in jack and built-in mic, users can easily import their digital music collection onto retro cassette tapes.

Buy it: Amazon

6. Days of the Week Scrunchie Set; $12

Urban Outfitters

Millennials can be upset that a trend from their youth is old enough to be cool again, or they can embrace it. This scrunchie set is for anyone happy to see the return of the hair accessory. The soft knit ponytail holders come in a set of five—one for each day of the school (or work) week.

Buy it: Urban Outfitters

7. D&D Graphic T-shirt; $38-$48

80s Tees

The perfect gift for the Dungeon Master in your life, this graphic tee is modeled after the cover of the classic Dungeons & Dragons rule book. It’s available in sizes small through 3XL.

Buy it: 80s Tees

8. Chuck E. Cheese T-shirt; $36-$58

80s Tees

Few Millennials survived childhood without experiencing at least one birthday party at Chuck E. Cheese. This retro T-shirt sports the brand’s original name: Chuck E. Cheese’s Pizza Time Theatre. It may be the next-best gift for a Chuck E. Cheese fan behind a decommissioned animatronic.

Buy it: 80s Tees

9. The Nightmare Before Christmas Picnic Blanket Bag; $40

Shop Disney

Fans of Tim Burton’s The Nightmare Before Christmas will recognize the iconic scene on the front of this messenger bag. Unfold it and the bag becomes a blanket fit for a moonlit picnic among the pumpkins. The bottom side is waterproof and the top layer is made of soft fleece.

Buy it: Shop Disney

10. Toy Story Alien Socks; $15

Shop Disney

You don’t need to be skilled at the claw machine to take home a pair of these socks. Decorated with the aliens from Toy Story, they’re made from soft-knit fabric and are big enough to fit adult feet.

Buy it: Shop Disney

11. Goosebumps Board Game; $24

Amazon

Fans that read every book in R.L. Stine’s series growing up can now play the Goosebumps board game. In this game, based on the Goosebumps movie, players take on the role of their favorite monster from the series and race to the typewriter at the end of the trail of manuscripts.

Buy it: Amazon

12. Tamagotchi Mini; $19

Amazon

If you know someone who killed their Tamagotchi in the '90s, give them another chance to show off their digital pet-care skills. This Tamagotchi is a smaller, simplified version of the original game. It doubles as a keychain, so owners have no excuse to forget to feed their pet.

Buy it: Amazon

13. SNES Classic; $275

Amazon

The SNES Classic is much easier to find now than when it first came out, and it's still just as entertaining for retro video game fans. This mini console comes preloaded with 21 Nintendo games, including Super Mario Kart and Street Fighter II.

Buy it: Amazon

14. Planters Cheez Balls; $24

Amazon

Planters revived its Cheez Balls in 2018 after pulling them from shelves nearly a decade earlier. To Millennials unaware of that fact, this gift could be their dream come true. The throwback snack even comes in the classic canister fans remember.

Buy it: Amazon

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America’s Most Popular Horror Movie Villains, Mapped

FrontierBundles.com
FrontierBundles.com

No matter how you feel about scary movies, it's hard to avoid them around Halloween. This is the time of year when the faces of cinema's classic horror villains seem to pop up in every store window and television set you see. Depending on where you live, certain horror icons may be especially hard to ignore. Check out the map below to find out the most popular scary movie villain in your state.

To make the map, FrontierBundles.com chose 15 classic horror movie antagonists and looked at regional Google Trends data for each name from the past year. Frankenstein's Monster from 1931's Frankenstein dominates most of the country, with 11 states including Pennsylvania and Arizona searching for the character. Ghostface from 1996's Scream ranked second with eight states. Chucky from Child's Play (1988), the Xenomorph from the Alien franchise, and Norman Bates from Psycho (1960) also rank high on the list.

FrontierBundles.com

Not every Halloween term Americans are searching for is horror-related. Some of the more wholesome seasonal queries that appear in Google's data include candy, crafts, and maze. But for every Google user searching for family-friendly fall activities, there are plenty looking up horror movies and monsters as well. Here's what people are Googling in your state for Halloween.