The Home of Steven Barnes
Author, Teacher, Screenwriter

Wednesday, December 15, 2004

"Blade" letter

I just got the following letter from a good friend (and even better writer) Steve Perry:

So I tried to post to your blog and it wants to limit me to 1000
characters. Pah!

Here's what I tried to say, in re to your review of the latest Blade

I agree with most of what you have to say, Steve, we've had this
discussion before, and I still believe it's about green and not black.
Soon as they can see dollar signs, that will change, book it. Hollywood
producers are seldom known for their bravery.

Still, I'm not sure Blade and Wesley Snipes are the vehicles to carry
this (justifiable) lament. It's a comic book vampire movie, and while I
haven't seen the latest installment, pretty much nobody gets laid in
any of them -- them that do get dead, black, white, or other hue, as I

As I recall, pretty much everybody gets dead, save Blade, who is
already a vampire ...

Nobody pointed at gun at Wesley's head and made him do these -- he
wanted to show off his martial arts chops, and does -- and I'm guessing
that he probably cries all the way to the bank, vis a vis getting laid
in the movie or not.

I'd bet that he can get a job doing indie movies where he sleeps with
everything that has a pulse if he wants.

Hollywood movies are about money -- any of life's lessons learned are
purely coincidental ...

The Blade movies are aimed right at fourteen-year-old boys, and I'm
guessing the white ones identify with Blade as much as the black ones
do. Laid or not, Wesley as Blade is just flat cool. I probably would,
too, if his martial arts moves weren't such movie-fu ...

You gotta remember what Sam Goldwyn said about sending messages ... ?

I'd agree with you if the first Blade hadn't been so blatently sexual (I remember a vampire getting blown in the club, and another sleeping with Blade's mother.)  And I am pretty sure that Wesley signed on to do the third movie with the promise they were going to humanize the character, give him a love interest--and then they reneged. Once he's signed on, they can sue the hell out of him.  I also agree that it's about "green and not black" except that that dodges the question: why does it impact the green if the ass in question is dark?  Because (I think) of that factor of audience acceptance.  I don't blame Hollywood at all, really, and hope I made that clear.  I don't blame the audience, either.  People are what they are.  I merely point this out as (I consider it) evidence that this particular malaise is still deep-rooted,and manefests in some pretty ugly statistical warts in the crime, poverty, and health statistics.  I grant that this is kinda a personal obsession, something that I have to work out in myself.  On the other hand, if I want to write in Hollywood, I have to know what the rules ACTUALLY are, not what people say they are.  If I want to have a positive impact, I have to know the territory I am traversing--not just think I do.  BTW--we'll know if I'm right or not if they make a sequel.  My prediction is that as soon as the leads are white, they'll sex it up.  We'll see.

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