- Jon Chardiet, Beat Street, 1984. “I tried too hard at auditions. Here’s this piece about cats from the ‘hood and I’m enunciating my lines like a Shakesperean actor.” Producer Harry Belafonte told him: “That’s enough. Go back to school!”
- Mario Van Peebles, Rappin’, 1985. “Nine times they saw me and they still gave it to Mario. But the film only lasted two days!”
- Bill Nunn,Do The Right Thing, 1989. Snipes left fora bigger film - Major League.Auteur Spike Lee never held it against him, welcoming him back for Mo’ Better Blues. “Wesley really stood up to Denzel [Washington] and that’s what we needed... this competition between the two.” Lee thenwrote Jungle Fever- just for Snipes.
- Denzel Washington, Mo 'Better Blues, 1990. Snipes was Bleek, the trumpet ace, for all of 30 minutes...“Spike called me at my grandmother’s house in Miami. ‘I want you to play Bleek.’I thought it was set -up. I said: “What about Denzel?’ ‘Good question! I’ll call you back.’ Half-hour later: ‘I wantyouto play Shadow’.”
- Omar Epps, Major League II, 1994. “The dream team is back!” screamed the posters. All but one, Snipes was otherwise engaged and the future ER and House MD medic took his place in the Cleveland Indiansbaseball squad.
- Sylvester Stallone, Assassins, 1995. Or Day of Reckoning when Snipes was setas the ageing hit-man stalked by the new killer intown: Johnny Depp. Then, Mel Gibson got it but passed it to director Richard Donner. He was very keen- if he could land Sean Connery or Arnold Schwarzenegger as the aged one.
- Paul McGann, Doctor Who (The Movie), TV, 1996.
- Denzel Washingtion, The Hurricane,1998. “Hate got me in here. But love's gonna bust me out.” New Jersey boxer Rubin ‘Hurricane’ Carter on being framed for three murders and losing 19 years of his life because of racism, corruption, said critic Roger Ebert, “and - perhaps most wounding - indifference.” Samuel L Jackson and Wesley Snipes battled for the role, but no one could hope to match the power of Washington - one of his finest achievements. In their next battle, Snipes and Washington both lost Hotel Rwanda, 2004, to Don Cheadle.
- Samuel L Jackson, Shaft, 2000. Shafted! Who should re-tread the ’70s cop? Director John Singleton wanted Don Cheadle. Producer Scott Rudin insisted on an A star. Like Snipes or Will Smith. . But Sam won - with the original Shaft, Richard Roundtree, as his uncle. "The scenario was terrible," said Snipes. "An insult to Afro-Americans and to the icon that is Shaft, himself.” And he added that the film would have made far more money if he had been Shaft - as proved by his Blade movies.
- Don Cheadle, Hotel Rwanda,2004. Irish film-maker Terry George always wanted Donto be Paul Rusesabagina, the hotel manager who saved a thousand-plus Tutsis refugees from the Hutu militia. Money-bags preferred the safety of Mekhi Phifer, Will Smith, Wesley Snipes and, above all, Denzel Washington. Terrygot his way and Don his Oscar nod.
- Antonio Banderas, Ballistic: Ecks vs Sever, 2002. For the Game Boy Advance game, the reluctant FBI-DIA duo was once due for Snipes-Jet Li, then Vin Diesel and Sly. Finally, a Stallone role went, for the first time to a woman. (Lucy Liu). Hadda happen! Didn’t save it from being one of the all-time champion flops - diabolical reviews and making a mere 30% of its budget back. What else when the director signed himself… Kaos!
- Sticky Fingaz, Blade The Series, TV, 2006. The cinema-Blade refused (obviously) the tele-Blade - and without him, The Series died within a dozen episodes.
- Derek Luke, Miracle of St Anna, 2007. Preparing from his income tax trial, Snipes withdrew from Spike Lee’s film about the all-black 92nd Infantry Division, trapped near a small Tuscan village in WWII. By 2010, Snipes was Bureau of Prisons inmate No. 43355-018 at the McKean Federal Correctional Institution with a three-year sentence in 2010 for tax evasion.
- Terry Crews, The Expendables, 2009. Wes could not accept Sylvester Stallone’s invite being restricted to the US due to tax fraud charges. They had co-starred in Demolition Man, 2003. Sly rewrote it for Forest Whitaker who wasn’t free, either. Enter: ex-San Diego Charger Terry Crews, the fourth black choice for Hale Caesar (owch!). Sly didn’t forget Wes. Once out of jail for his 1999-2007 tax evasion, Snipes became Doc in Expendables 3. And when asked why he’d been in jail, Snipes’ character told the truth. Tax evasion.
- Chadwick Boseman, Black Panther, 2017. Adewale Akinnuoye-Agbaje, Chitwetel Ejiofor, Djimon Hounsou, Anthony Mackie - and even Snipes (at Columbia in the 90s) vied for the titular hero of what became the 18th film in the Marvel Cinematic Universe. (More officially known as Chapter Six of Phase Three). (Huh ?) Snipes became Marvel’s (but not MCU’s) Blade the vampire-slayer for two chapters in 1997-2001. Agbaje, Ejiofor, Hounsou and Mackie made other MCU movies …while Boyega, of course, shot to far greater fame as Finn in the Star Wars comeback, The Force Awakens, 2014. Better known as Episode VII.