The studio that made Blade wanted to make the character white
Blade was ahead of its time as a hugely successful comic book adaptation released back in 1998.
The film also piqued interest in the dance music world due to its opening scene depicting an underground techno rave being showered in blood. Back in 2015, anonymous promoters in Amsterdam copied the idea for a Halloween event.
It was also pioneering as a comic book adaptation starring a black lead, with a cultural impact that has arguably only recently been surpassed by the release of Black Panther this year. But it has recently been revealed the studio made an attempt to have the lead character be portrayed by a white actor.
As the 20th anniversary of Blade’s release approaches, a new oral history on the film has been published by Entertainment Weekly. In it, screenwriter David Goyer says that the studio wanted to make the lead character white.
He said: “At one point the [studio] came to us and said ‘can Blade be white?’ and I said ‘absolutely fucking not. Like, that is just terrible. You cannot do that.’”
New Line Cinema is the studio that distributed the film, but Goyer doesn’t explicitly name the company. He also doesn’t say how far the studio pursued this attempt at whitewashing the Marvel Comics superhero.
Wesley Snipes portrayed the character in the film, which made nearly triple its $45 million budget in the box office alone and asserted that films with black leads can be successful regardless of what fusty Hollywood execs think.
Patrick Hinton is Mixmag's Digital Staff Writer, follow him on Twitter