10 Fangtastic Facts About Classic Superhero Horror Film Blade
Fighting his way onto the big screen at the very beginning of Marvel’s cinematic renaissance was the human-vampire hybrid Blade, who performed so impressively at the box office that he earned the right to return in 2002’s brilliant Blade II and 2004’s underwhelming Blade: Trinity. Below are 10 fang-tastic, fist-flinging facts about this groundbreaking superhero horror movie.
10. It was originally planned to be a western starring Shaft actor Richard Roundtree
Many years before it would finally go into production, New World Cinema planned a very different take on the Marvel comics vampire hunter. The independent studio planned to make Blade a Western, set in Mexico.
They also intended to give the role of Blade to Richard Roundtree, the actor dubbed ‘the first black action hero’ after he took the iconic title role in popular 1971 crime film Shaft and its sequels.
9. LL Cool J nearly played Blade during the early 1990s
As New World Cinema failed to get their planned Blade movie off the ground, the rights to make a film featuring the character eventually reverted back to comic book company Marvel, who had introduced the character in horror comic Tomb of Dracula back in 1973.
Marvel (who were not yet the movie powerhouse they are today) attempted to get a project off the ground during the early 1990s, at which time the rapper and occasional actor LL Cool J was reported to have been interested in playing the vampire slayer.
8. It could have seen Denzel Washington facing off against Jet Li
Chinese-Singaporean martial artist and actor Jet Li was offered the role of Blade’s enemy Deacon Frost, but he turned it down to star in Lethal Weapon 4, so Stephen Dorff was cast instead.
7. Wesley Snipes only signed up after his Black Panther project fell through
We’re all familiar with the late Chadwick Boseman in the role of Wakanda’s Black Panther, but Wesley Snipes was keen to take on the role of the Marvel superhero as far back as 1996. Unfortunately, Snipes and company were unable to get this project a green light.
It was only after his Black Panther project fell apart that Snipes agreed to take on the role of Blade instead.
6. It allowed Snipes to show off his black belt martial arts skills
Wesley Snipes didn’t perform all of his character’s stunts in Blade, but the film did at least allow Wesley Snipes to show off his impressive talents in the field of martial arts.
Long before he excelled as a Hollywood actor, Snipes was a proficient martial artist, beginning his training at the age of 12 and later earning a black belt in both Karate and Hapkido.
5. Co-star Donal Logue dislocated his jaw during filming
Donal Logue, who played Deacon Frost’s powerful vampire minion Quinn, dislocated his jaw after falling to the floor during filming of an action sequence in a hospital corridor.
“I’ve got this guy who’s dressed as a third degree burns victim, essentially naked, running in with his jaw hanging down,” recalled director Stephen Norrington.
4. Heavy re-shoots and edits delayed its release by six months
The first cut of Blade brought extremely negative reactions from test screening audiences, leading to heavy re-shoots and edits that delayed its release by six months.
The re-shoots even added a completely different ending, after feedback showed that people were not impressed with the quality of the special effects in the original, CGI-heavy denouement.
3. Blade’s creators unsuccessfully sued Marvel for more money
Blade’s creators writer Marv Wolfman and artist Gene Colan were given screen credit in the film’s opening titles. Even so, the duo later sued Marvel, unhappy with what they believed was an unfair amount of money being offered to them.
The pair’s attempt to receive a significantly larger cut of Blade’s impressive box office return was heard in a court of law, but it eventually ended in failure.
2. It is Wesley Snipes’ biggest ever box office hit
He may have suffered something of a fall from grace in the years that followed, even spending three years in prison for failing to file a tax return, but there was a time when Wesley Snipes was one of the most sought after actors on the planet.
Blade was Snipes’ biggest ever commercial success as a leading man, making over $130 million worldwide. This figure was outstripped by 2002’s Blade II, which earned $155 million. (Demolition Man and The Expendables 3, in which Snipes took supporting roles, were even bigger hits.)
1. It paved the way for today’s comic book movie obsession
Some may argue that 2000’s X-Men was the film that opened the door for the multitude of comic book adaptations we see in cinemas today.
But the truth is that the success of Blade, released two years earlier, showed Hollywood executives the potential of delving into the comic book archives of both Marvel and DC.