Snipes on how ‘Blade’ in­flu­enced his novel

Cape Breton Post - - Arts/Entertainment - BY LAU­REN LA ROSE

The fi­nal film in the “Blade’’ tril­ogy de­buted more than a decade ago, but se­ries star Wes­ley Snipes wouldn’t rule out a re­turn to the su­per­hero fran­chise.

“When Marvel is ready, I will be ready,’’ Snipes said from Los Angeles.

“We want to do it well, we want to do it right. I don’t want to do it just to do it. I want to give the peo­ple what they’ve been ask­ing for and more.’’

In the mean­time, the ac­tor is turn­ing his at­ten­tion to a tril­ogy in the lit­er­ary do­main with his de­but novel “Talon of God’’ (Harper Voy­ager).

Snipes teamed with co-au­thor Ray Nor­man on the Chicago-set thriller. The ur­ban fan­tasy cen­tres around Lau­ryn Jef­fer­son, a young doc­tor grap­pling with a baf­fling cri­sis: a sul­phur-laced drug is trans­form­ing in­di­vid­u­als into demons. She teams with spir­i­tual war­rior Talon Hunter to bat­tle against the forces of evil threat­en­ing to take hold.

Snipes spoke with The Cana­dian Press about the in­flu­ence of vam­pire hunter Blade on “Talon of God,’’ the im­por­tance of di­ver­sity in sto­ry­telling, and his thoughts on re­makes.

CP: What was it about the supernatural realm specif­i­cally that you wanted to ex­plore?

Snipes: To be re­ally real, there’s al­ways been a lot of in­ter­est in the “Blade’’ world; and

I rec­og­nized very early on that there’s a great ve­hi­cle in the use of good ac­tion to com­mu­ni­cate other ideas. And I thought: “Wow, it would be great to have some­thing that’s ac­tion-packed that peo­ple can get into, but then, at the same time, feed them with some of the spir­i­tual sub­stance and raise some of the ques­tions around spir­i­tu­al­ity that we were grap­pling with our­selves.’’

CP: Lau­ryn comes from a back­ground of spir­i­tu­al­ity when you’re look­ing at her fa­ther (a Bap­tist min­is­ter) but she seems to have a greater faith or be­lief in science. Why did you de­cide to have her as her lead char­ac­ter?

Snipes: To en­gage the au­di­ence, it would be bet­ter to do some­thing that’s a lit­tle un­pre­dictable. The first thought of me writ­ing a book that’s ac­tionori­ented, one would pre­sume that the pro­tag­o­nist would be male. That, cou­pled with me rec­og­niz­ing how strong the girl

en­ergy is right now, the fem­i­nine en­ergy mov­ing through the uni­verse is, and that en­ergy em­bod­ied in women of colour just made a lot of sense. It was ar­tis­ti­cally ap­peal­ing to have our pro­tag­o­nist be a woman of colour. In this par­tic­u­lar world of fan­tasy and ur­ban fan­tasy gen­res it is a rar­ity to have a char­ac­ter like Lau­ryn Jef­fer­son.

CP: You see a re­ally di­verse slate of char­ac­ters in their racial, eth­nic and re­li­gious di­ver­sity. Was that a con­scious de­ci­sion?

Snipes: (It’s) a lit­tle residue of my per­sonal life, and hav­ing in­ter­ac­tions with so many dif­fer­ent cul­tures and so many dif­fer­ent peo­ple around the world. Also, both Ray and I rec­og­nize the in­flu­ence and power of so many great re­li­gious and spir­i­tual prac­tices around the world. Cin­e­mat­i­cally — for me, es­pe­cially — if we’re try­ing to reach a broad au­di­ence, it makes a lot of sense to make the uni­verse mul­tira­cial, mul­ti­dis­ci­plined, mul­ti­eth­nic.

CP: You de­scribe Talon as this sword-wield­ing war­rior. I couldn’t help but think of the char­ac­ter you por­tray in “Blade.’’ Do you see par­al­lels be­tween the two?

Snipes: On a quest to avenge wrong, I see the com­mon­al­ity. That they are both war­riors, def­i­nitely a com­mon­al­ity. But if there was a fight be­tween Talon and Blade, I’m go­ing with Talon. Talon is with the Almighty. He’s go­ing to hit Blade with some words and a sword and a fist and a bolt of light­ning (laugh­ing). I don’t think Blade is ready for that.

The idea that peo­ple have had a hunger or ap­pre­ci­a­tion for the “Blade’’ fran­chise, and a de­sire to see more marinating in the back of my head while we’re writ­ing? Yeah, I can say there’s some el­e­ment of in­flu­ence there. The way we do ac­tion in film is kind of the way I wrote ac­tion for the book. I think it would be fun for some of the “Blade’’ fans to find the par­al­lels and the re­cur­ring themes in “Talon of God’’ that ex­ist in the “Blade’’ fran­chise.

CP: There is go­ing to be a re­boot of (Snipes’s 1992 com­edy) “White Men Can’t Jump.’’ Are there any other projects or char­ac­ters that you’ve por­trayed that you’d love to be a part of re­viv­ing or see rein­ter­preted?

Snipes: For me, cer­tain things are in the past. I like the idea of push­ing my cre­ativ­ity and draw­ing from a new well. What we did be­fore is great. But like Michael Jack­son, he didn’t do the same mu­sic ev­ery al­bum; and I don’t want Wes­ley Snipes do­ing the same movies ev­ery year, ev­ery decade.

CP PHOTO

The novel “Talon of God” by ac­tor Wes­ley Snipes and Ray Nor­man is shown in a hand­out photo.

CP PHOTO

Ac­tor Wes­ley Snipes is shown in a hand­out photo.

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