Why Hollywood won't cast Wesley Snipes anymore

Wesley Snipes. / Net photo

Once upon a time, Wesley Snipes was one of the most in-demand action stars in show business—and for good reason. Snipes' unique blend of athletic and martial arts abilities with undeniable charisma led to some memorable performances and a handful of blockbuster hits.

These days, however, it seems like Hollywood won't go anywhere near him; decades beyond his marquee-topping prime, you're far more likely to see Snipes in a B-list direct-to-video member of the 0 percent club on Rotten Tomatoes.

The man behind ‘Blade’ is still (arguably) a household name, and Hollywood history is full of stories about talented people who were given second chances after flaming out during their first shot at the big time.

So why won't the movie industry cast him in major productions anymore? To answer that question, let's take a look at the ass-kicking actor's career trajectory, in order to pinpoint what exactly went wrong. Here's why Hollywood won't cast Wesley Snipes anymore.

Wesley Snipes' career got off to a blazing start when he landed the role of Willie Mays Hayes, the fleet-footed base-stealer, who "hit like s***" in baseball comedy classic ‘Major League’. Though his batting initially left the Cleveland Indians with something to be desired, his charismatic and athletic performance caught the attention of casting directors all over Hollywood, helping skyrocket the young actor to big-league fame.

Some claim, however, that fame went to his head.

Wesley Snipes became a Hollywood hot shot so quickly, in fact, he didn't even consider rejoining the cast for Major League II—which notably starred almost everyone else from the original.

Corbin Bernsen, who plays the film's vain third baseman, told Sports Illustrated: "A couple of years after Major League I saw Wesley. I said, 'Hey, man, they're gonna make ‘Major League II!' And he was like, 'You're gonna do that?' And I thought, 'Wow, how quickly they forget.' He'd become Wesley Snipes. That rubbed me the wrong way."

Snipes followed up his breakthrough performance in 1989's Major League with a string of high-profile roles in noteworthy films.

Between 1990-1992, Snipes played Shadow "Sax" Henderson in Mo' Better Blues, Thomas Flannigan in King of New York, Nino Brown in New Jack City, Flipper Purify in Jungle Fever, Sidney Deane in White Men Can't Jump, and Raymond Hill in The Waterdance—all of which can be considered amongst the actor's best performances.

Unfortunately, it all went downhill from there.

Even while riding such a hot streak, Snipes wasn't afraid to shine a light on Hollywood's racial inequality.

"The movie industry right off the bat is geared towards white actors," Snipes told Jae-Ha Kim at The Chicago Sun-Times in 1991. "When screenwriters write material, they write with white actors in mind, unless they're black writers like Spike [Lee]. The only roles available to minorities then are specifically designated as for an African-American man or an Asian woman or whatever. That's the nature of this business, but it really fascinates me that so many films can be made with no non-white people in them!"

Agencies

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