Patton Oswalt has told the story a couple of times over the years: While filming Blade: Trinity, the comedian has said, Wesley Snipes exhibited some extremely bizarre behavior. To hear the comedian tell it, Snipes insisted on staying in character throughout the shoot, smoked weed all day, and at one point tried to strangle the director, David Goyer. As Oswalt told the AV Club in 2012, “Wesley was just fucking crazy in a hilarious way.”
You’ll be shocked to learn that Snipes doesn’t seem to love these allegations. He’s addressed parts of the story before—but in an interview with The Guardian published Monday, he provided his most thorough fact-check yet.
When asked to clarify some rumors from the set, Snipes asked, “Yes, yes, yes, which one is this?” When his interviewer, Simon Hattenstone, indicated they came from Oswalt, Snipes snarked, “A reliable authority on me.”
“Let me tell you one thing,” Snipes said. “If I had tried to strangle David Goyer, you probably wouldn’t be talking to me now. A black guy with muscles strangling the director of a movie is going to jail, I guarantee you... Did I go to jail for strangling him? Never happened.”
Blade, a Marvel adaptation in which Snipes plays a supercharged vampire hunter, is widely credited for launching the deluge of comic book film adaptations that followed in its wake. The sequel, directed by Guillermo del Toro, was also widely praised; some fans will go to their graves insisting that it’s even better than the original.
But none would likely say the same for Blade: Trinity. As Oswalt put it on the Pete Holmes Show in 2014, “If you just sit and watch Blade: Trinity, it’s a D-... But if you know what they went through to get that movie made, it is an A+. The fact that that movie exists puts it above Citizen Kane.”
Another claim Oswalt made during that AV Club interview: The evening after Snipes allegedly tried to strangle Goyer, the director made a quip at a strip club about hiring a bunch of bikers to pretend to be his security, at which point Snipes left in a huff. The next day, they allegedly had an argument in which each man insisted the other should leave the project.
“For the rest of the production, he would only communicate through Post-It notes,” Oswalt told the AV Club at the time. “And he would sign each Post-it note ‘From Blade.’”
When asked about the claim, Snipes laughed—but not out of amusement. “Once again, Mr. Oswalt is the authority,” he told The Guardian. “Hohoho! Why do people believe this guy’s version of this story? Answer me that.”
“This is part of the challenges that we as African Americans face here in America—these microaggressions,” Snipes added. “The presumption that one white guy can make a statement and that statement stands as true! Why would people believe his version is true? Because they are predisposed to believing the black guy is always the problem. And all it takes is one person, Mr. Oswalt, who I really don’t know. I can barely remember him on the set, but it’s fascinating that his statement alone was enough to make people go: ‘Yeah, you know Snipes has got a problem.’”
Snipes has addressed parts of Oswalt’s story before; in a 2018 interview with Vice, he denied going method and staying in character throughout the shoot and staying in his trailer. Although the actor admitted the Post-It notes thing “may have happened,” he claimed the move had more to do with how the shoot had unfolded.
“I wouldn’t say it was frequent,” Snipes said at the time. “Because our whole crew was banished to another side of the island of production. The only way we could sometimes get messages, since we didn’t have the radio, was to get it there by courier or pigeon sometimes [laughs].”
Either way, Snipes wants to make clear that he was not just some delinquent actor sitting in his trailer and picking fights with the director. As he told The Guardian, he, too, had authority on that set.
“I remind you that I was one of the executive producers of the project,” Snipes said. “I had contractual director approval. I was not just the actor for hire. I had au-thor-i-ty to say, to dictate, to decide. This was a hard concept for a lot of people to wrap their heads around.”