When the first Blade movie hit theater screens in August of 1998 it became a surprise smash hit and accomplished several noteworthy goals: it gave Wesley Snipes an iconic movie hero in the mold of Rambo and John McClane to call his own, spawned one of New Line Cinema’s most lucrative franchises since the heyday of Freddy Krueger and the Ninja Turtles, and it proved that Marvel Comics characters could successfully headline their own motion picture adventures, thus paving the way for Spider-Man, the X-Men, and the Avengers to rule the box office in the years that followed. It took four years for a sequel to come together but with Guillermo Del Toro at the helm, Blade II surpassed the original in every way and became one of the best comic book movie sequels of all. The rapturous reception from moviegoers and critics that greeted Blade II helped revive Del Toro’s American directing career.
Expectations were high for a third Blade movie; at one point German filmmaker Oliver Hirschbiegel (Downfall) was rumored to take the reins for a post-apocalyptic sequel that would have had Snipes’ monosyllabic vampire hunter continue his neverending battle in a world dominated by the bloodthirsty undead. Instead David S. Goyer, the screenwriter who was instrumental in bringing Blade to the big screen, signed on to write and direct the movie that would be released in December 2004 as Blade: Trinity. The end result has since been deemed by many to be one of the worse comic book movies ever made, if not the absolute worse. Make no mistake friends, if you’ve never seen the movie you’re not missing anything at all. It’s atrocious. In the annals of superhero it ranks with the likes of Superman IV: The Quest for Peace and Elektra. Blade: Trinity makes other maligned third chapters of comic book movie franchises like X-Men: The Last Stand and Spider-Man 3 look like masterpieces in comparison.
Much has been written since Blade: Trinity crawled out of theaters on its belly shortly after it made its premiere of the battles behind the scenes between Snipes and Goyer that far surpassed any and all of the movie’s many carnage-packed showdowns between Blade and his bloodsucking archenemies. One person who was there for nearly every dark second was actor, writer, and stand-up comedian Patton Oswalt. In a recent career-spanning interview with the A.V. Club, Oswalt, who had a small supporting role as a tech geek supplying Blade with some killer weaponry that barely gets used, talked extensively and candidly about the problems that plagued the movie’s production from the very beginning. Not surprisingly, executives at New Line Cinema took issue with the tone Goyer wanted to establish for Blade: Trinity:
Oswalt learned soon after joining the production that due to his unorthodox acting methods the star playing the movie’s titular hero was less than approachable when the cameras weren’t rolling:
According to Oswalt, Snipes dealt with his increasing lack of interest in the movie by turning to copious amounts of marijuana and sometimes his own insecurity would lead to tense showdowns with the besieged Goyer:
The slow deterioration of Snipes and Goyer’s professional relationship ultimately led to the director taking matters into his hands to deal with his temperamental lead actor in ways both humorous and dead serious, much like the tone of the Blade series:
One of the problems Snipes had with the movie that he was not shy about voicing was the shifting of the narrative focus from Blade’s battle against the vampire hordes and their chosen leader Dracula (played by thick-necked Australian actor Dominic Purcell) to setting up a spin-off franchise based around the Nightstalkers, younger vampire slayers played by Ryan Reynolds and Jessica Biel who ended up taking away a chunk of Snipes’ screen time. As a result, the action hero would only show up for filming when absolutely necessary. Oswalt and the other actors found humorous ways to liven up the dour proceedings:
Well I’m glad they had fun, but after one viewing of Blade: Trinity I was left wishing I had some of that primo shit Snipes was smoking in his trailer to relieve my psychic misery. Live and learn.
[Source: AV Club]