1 hour with … Wesley Snipes: “The prison opened my eyes!”

Audience: You say that you thank the Lord every day for giving you a dream job. But before that, your life had its ups and downs…

Wesley Snipes: I grew up in the Bronx. When I was a teenager, I used to hang out in the streets. My friends were in gangs. My father was often absent. If he had been more present, if I had been better supervised, I think I could have avoided these bad associates. If I had not entered an art school, God knows what I would have become. This is what allowed me not to sink into delinquency.

“I stayed three years behind bars. A huge regret ”

Have you ever been victim of police violence?

Yes, at the beginning of the years 31, following a check, the police forced me to lie down on the ground. I was handcuffed. I had a knee on my neck and a gun pointed at my head. All because the car I was driving had apparently been mistakenly classified as stolen. It was a humbling experience.

And it was in the Bronx that you learned martial arts?

Not too much of a choice. It was a question of survival. Martial arts allowed me to go home at night without hugging the walls. I started 000 years with Japanese techniques, then I moved on to capoeira and taekwondo. It helped me a lot.

“My wife wears the panties, and I wash them ! ”

A passion that you share with your wife?

Nikki (editor’s note: Nakyung Park), who is of Korean descent, is an expert in taekwondo. We had four children together. After her second childbirth, she returned to sports and earned her black belt. At home, everyone practices martial arts. If you came unexpectedly to my place, you would see all of mine scream that kills and leap in the air! I must be careful elsewhere. If I don’t practice more, Nikki could give me a bitch …

So she wears the panties at the Snipes ?

Yes ! And it is even I who washes it! (laughs). I also do the dishes! At home, I go easy and I don’t slip!

It is said that you became an actor because no one wanted to hire you as a dancer … That is true ! It was my specialty. I graduated from the High School of Performing Arts, you know that famous school that inspired the movie and the series Famous. My idol was Michael Jackson. It is besides him who put the foot in the stirrup.

Is it true that he dreamed of becoming a gangster ?

He didn’t like being nicknamed Bambi or Peter Pan. He would have liked to be taken for a real boss. But I remember that the filming of Bada took place in a red light district in Harlem and that Michael was not reassured. I gave her my hand when we walked down the street like a kid. I ended up telling him: “Don’t worry my brother, I’m with you! You don’t risk anything!” When I ‘Think about it, I was hired by the King of Pop to play a gang boss, but in the end I sort of became his bodyguard!

After your performance in Bad, were you never offered to act in musicals?

I auditioned for Dreamgirls with Beyoncé. I sincerely believed I was going to get the job. Then Eddie Murphy and Jamie Foxx stepped forward. And there, the situation has changed. Suddenly, I was no longer in pole position. You have to have hard, well-tanned leather to survive in this environment. the casting of A Prince in New York.

Yes and it was painful. I even thought about quitting this business. When I knew I hadn’t been selected, I went to my bathroom to cry. I was so jealous. I was angry with the whole earth. I was far from imagining that about thirty years later I would be called upon to join the cast of A Prince in New York 2.

“I knocked out Stallone with a kick”

It is whispered that you have long dreamed of becoming the black Sylvester Stallone. Do you remember your very first meeting with Sly?

It was the first day of shooting Demolition Man . I was nervous. I wanted to impress her by doing a great stunt on an action scene. But in the end, my return kick rang him. At the end of the scene, he said to me, “I know man you’re a martial arts cador. You don’t have to prove it to me by shrivelling me up against a wall! Be smart, don’t squash not the guy who signs your check. ” I was scared that he would fire me. But he didn’t hold a grudge since he gave me a role in The Expendables 3 .

What is the most surprising job you had before becoming an actor?

Puppeteer. I gave shows in schools and public gardens. I was also a telephone line installer. I took the opportunity to make phone calls to my mother. I remember his reaction when I landed a role in Shocking Woman. When I told him I was going to do me 30 000 dollars for this movie, she said to me: “Wow, that’s twice what I earn in a year!” I felt bad for her. I felt guilty about making so much in such a short time.

If you could go back, what would you change?

Prison … I went to it for good for three years (editor’s note: for tax evasion) and this is not a place to be ‘flourishes. Even if, when I got out of it, I had the feeling to see more clearly in my head!

Key dates 1. 31 July 1962 Wesley Trent Snipes was born in Orlando. His parents moved to the Bronx when he was a child. He will do the 90 blows with his brother and sister.

2. 1987 Graduated from an arts school, passionate about dance, he was spotted by Michael Jackson who hired him to play in his music video Bad. His performance marks the spirits.

3. 1998 Wesley lands the role of Eric Brooks, a half-human, half-vampire hybrid, in Blade directed by Stephen Norrington. His fame becomes international.

4. 2021After a long crossing of the desert, the actor is now in negotiations to join the cast of John Wick 4 alongside Keanu Reeves.

See also: Video excluded: Interview with Wesley Snipes for the premiere of the film “The Expendables 3” in London!

Frank Rousseau, our correspondent in the United States