It’s been very rewarding for me and I think it’s had a lot to do with the longevity of my career, especially in applying it to the action genre where you need to have a physical style. I never really imagined that I would be using martial arts in film, but it’s a personal hobby that I’ve been able to use in my professional career. It helped me stay in the game when I might have otherwise been a trivia question on Jeopardy.
Reflecting on the 2014 Cannes Film Festival
Jon Shakill: I understand that you recently returned from the Cannes Film Festival. What was the experience like, and how was the reception of the movie?
Wesley Snipes: It was absolutely stellar, and it’s nice to see the evolution of the festival. The amazing thing about the European community, or at least about the people that were there, is that they really like film, and appreciate film as an art form and the actors as artists as well as celebrities. Being on a tank riding down the main lane of the parade, that’s something you can never imagine. There were thousands of people in front of us, to the left and to the right and following behind, it just makes you go ‘Wow, hey man, I’m in the movies! I’m a movie star.’
It reminded me so much of the glory days of the ‘40s and ‘50s, even though it was in black and white back then, it was so glamorous and so big and just made you think it was another world. So that’s exactly the way I felt being in Cannes these last few weeks, and being with all these guys that generate so much heat and enthusiasm. It was amazing.
Jon Shakill: You touched on something there, which is the difference between the artist and the celebrity. Would you rather be seen as an artist, or do you take in the celebrity as well and do you enjoy that?
Wesley Snipes: The length of my career and the variety of the work that I’ve done wouldn’t have been the case if it weren’t for all of the unglamorous work that was done before I got into the film business. That was motivated by the effort put forth by the artist, and the artistic passion. I define myself as an artist. I am incessantly creative and overwhelmingly open, and I still get excited by artistic things and artistic expression. Whether that be two dancers doing something from the Cirque du Soliel or whether it be in a black box and it’s a one man show with an actor acting their butt off, I love it man. I get excited by it. So I would classify myself as an artist first and foremost, who for one reason or another found himself being a celebrity. But it would be okay if they took the celebrity away, because I would still be an artist and I would be happy, happy, happy.
It’s a Wrap . . . Cigar Talk With Wesley Snipes
Jon Shakill: When are some of your favorite moments to enjoy a cigar and a spirit?
Wesley Snipes: It’s nice in the company of a beautiful woman. It’s always delightful to have a nice spirit that matches her eyes, or her dress. I sometimes enjoy a La Flor Dominicana and I also like a Gurkha cigar sometimes. I’m also a fan of cognac, but I can’t drink very much of it. With cognac, after about two, it shuts my lights off for some reason. I mean it’s like a complete mental brain disconnect. Some other guy comes out and I don’t really know who he is, although I have seen pictures of what he’s done and where he’s slept, but we’re not friends [Laughs]. I usually have to back off on the cognac, even though I really do enjoy a little bit here or there. I also appreciate a good vodka sometimes.
Jon Shakill: Did you ever smoke cigars with Stallone and Schwarzenegger during the filming of the movie? We all know they are big cigar guys.
Wesley Snipes: Yeah a couple times we did. But with these guys, they like to smoke the long ones, but I’m just a little bit too impatient for that. I have to smoke the shorter cigars. Usually sitting down with cigars, especially with these types of guys, there’s a lot of talking going on. So for me it’s an opportunity to just sit back and tune in, because I don’t have to do much talking and they do all the talking. It was a nice opportunity to hear all these great stories that they have, and when the flame would go out on my cigar, they’d look at me like ‘are you gonna smoke that or what?’
Jon Shakill: What are your plans for the future? Do you currently have anything in the works for additional movies or other ventures?
Wesley Snipes: I’ve been in show business for over 30 years now and I’ve done a lot of shows. But now I’m also putting my focus on the business side of the equation and producing. We’ll be doing a production called “Bulls” and a martial arts action comedy titled “Master Daddy.” These are two productions that are going on this year, starting in the late summer and early fall. We’re also working on creating a lot of digital media and animation projects that are synergistically in tune with the film and television productions we’re developing. So I’m expanding my horizons to focus on franchise-able products and projects that have some synergy in a trans-media world, in different mediums like gaming and animations series. And I have a real big surprise that I think people are not going to expect — I have a book coming out, and it’s not a biography. I’ve been very fortunate and blessed with the opportunities I’ve had in the past, but let me tell you, the industry and the fans, they haven’t seen nothing yet. What we have coming up I think is going to be the best yet.
Jon Shakill: Well now that we have the teaser, we will be looking forward to it. Thank you for your time today Mr. Snipes.
Wesley Snipes: I appreciate you Jon, thank you.