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Q&A: Wesley Snipes on how 'Blade' films influenced his debut novel 'Talon of God

Last Updated Aug 3, 2017 at 4:40 pm PST

Actor Wesley Snipes is shown in a handout photo. THE CANADIAN PRESS/HO-HarperCollins MANDATORY CREDIT

TORONTO – 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 action-oriented, 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.

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Note: This interview has been edited and condensed.

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