Wesley Snipes: The Wisdom of Wesley

Q: Denzel Washington, with whom you starred in Spike Lee's Mo' Better Blues, said you reminded him of himself.

A: I don't see the similarities, but I'm not offended by that.

Q: Denzel seems to have it together pretty good.

A: He has it together enough for people to believe he's together.

Q: Do you resent comparisons?

A: No. They like making issues of competition between black artists and we have to be very careful of that, because we all do something differently.

Q: I read Denzel won't make love to a white woman on-screen. Is he wrong?

A: Who am I to judge? I don't have a problem with it.

Q: How controversial was the interracial romantic aspect of Lee's Jungle Fever for you?

A: It was more an issue for Spike. I was the actor for hire.

Q: Annabella Sciorra disagreed with Jungle Fever's premise and refused to talk to the media about the film.

A: She felt the movie should be about love. I agreed with Spike that it wasn't about love, it was about what happens to two people of different backgrounds in a relationship. That was the movie. If you want to make Brian's Song, then you do Brian's Song.

Q: A few years later you did The Waterdance, which costarred Helen Hunt. Did you recognize her talent?

A: No, I had no idea. I didn't act very much with her.

Q: Was Sean Connery intimidating to work with when you did Rising Sun?

A: He was great. He liked me. I told him, "You ain't nothing but a brother, anyway. There's a black man somewhere in your family. You can tell by the way you walk, the color of your skin. The thing about Bond and why we ain't got no problem with you, is because he whupped ass around the whole world, but he never went to Harlem."

Q: Did you feel that way about Sylvester Stallone when you worked with him in Demolition Man?

A: Not in the beginning. I thought I had to prove myself to him. In our first fight scene, I'm thinking Sly, Rocky, Rambo, Cobra--my man is strong, he's going to want to feel it. So I kicked him hard and he shouted "Cut!" And he said, "This is movies. You don't have to really kick me." From that moment on he started talking to me. I still call him now, ask him for advice.

Q: Did you first get to know your buddy Woody Harrelson on Goldie Hawn's Wildcats?

A: There were some very interesting dynamics. Most of the cats on the team in this movie were black. Woody was only supposed to be in the movie early on, but Goldie liked him and he ended up with more and more scenes. We thought it was white favoritism. One of the football players, a Muslim from the Nation in Chicago, would whip on Woody every day. Woody couldn't take it and came to me, "Look man, what is all this black shit? Why's he saying I'm the Devil? Do you think I'm the Devil?" We ended up with a friendship from that.

Q: Do you support Woody's pro-hemp cause?

A: He is my friend and I support him. We have different issues, of course. I tell Woody, "The only reason that you're on this hemp thing is because you've got all this money and, as a young, rich, white male, you don't know what to do with it. I love you going around saving the trees, but you haven't built one house for the homeless. You ain't put no kids through school. But go ahead and fight for the trees, and in the meantime, I'll use my money to put somebody through school." We laugh about it.

Q: Your Money Train costar Jennifer Lopez has had less than kind things to say about you--are you aware of that?

A: Oh yeah, and that was in this magazine, too. Isn't that funny? It's my chance now for karmic retribution.

Q: She said both you and Woody Harrelson hit on her, but that you got more serious--and when she wasn't interested, you wouldn't talk to her for two months. True?

A: False. What happened was, she had never done a love scene before. She was absolutely terrified. I was given instructions from the director to make her feel good. That was my job. Definitely I found her attractive. I'm figuring, hell, she's from the Bronx, I'm from the Bronx, what's wrong with it? It ain't like she ain't been down with a brother from the Bronx before. I tried to make her comfortable--took her to dinner, talked. I knew people would look at the screen and say either, "They have chemistry," or, "They don't." I told her, if she took my advice we'd do a wonderful, erotic scene. And if it wasn't a good love scene, they'd edit around her and throw it on the floor. And that's exactly what happened. She tried to make it seem like I was using the craft just to get into her pants, and that really offended me. That's why I didn't say nothin' to her.

Q: She told Movieline: "I suppose Wesley will call going, 'You bitch! How dare you? I didn't like you."

A: I find that strange. Even if I was attracted to her, why is that bad? Every man on the set was attracted to her, so what is she talking about? Woody was clearly attracted to her. It was straight up: I will make you laugh, then you come home with me. When she was on In Living Color, you mean to tell me none of those guys were attracted to her? So why is she talking only about Wesley?

Q: You learned to sky dive for Drop Zone. Any fears?

A: The first time I jumped from a plane, I screamed like a woman. I was two miles up and you could hear me clear as day. Now I love it.

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