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Expressly Wesley!

‘The Player’ interview

Kam Williams
Expressly Wesley!
Wesley Snipes stars in “The Player.” (Photo: Photo courtesy

Wesley Snipes is perhaps best known for his role as Blade, the human with vampire genes based on the title character from the comic book trilogy of the same name. The veteran thespian has an impressive pedigree and a resume’ with movies which have grossed over $415 million combined at the box office.

A master in the martial arts, Wesley was born in Orlando and got his big career break in 1986 when he landed a role in opposite Goldie Hawn in “Wildcats.” He subsequently appeared in an episode of the hit TV-series “Miami Vice,” and a year later was cast by Martin Scorsese in Michael Jackson’s music video “Bad.”

Larger roles quickly followed, including co-starring turns in such films as “Passenger 57,” “Demolition Man,” “Money Train,” “The Fan,” “Rising Sun,” “New Jack City,” “White Men Can’t Jump” and “To Wong Foo, Thanks for Everything! Julie Newmar.” Among his additional TV credits are outings on “The Days and Nights of Molly Dodd,” “America’s Dream” and “The Bernie Mac Show.”

Snipes has won a couple of NAACP Image Awards (for “New Jack City” and “America’s Dream”). And on August 21, 1998, he had his star added to the Hollywood Walk of Fame.

Here, Snipes talks about his recurring role as Mr. Johnson on “The Player,” the new NBC drama airing Thursdays at 10 pm ET/PT. (Check local listings)

What interested you in “The Player”?

Wesley Snipes: Well, first of all, the interesting opportunity to get into the television game, and to work with some talented people behind the scenes, producers who have a track record of success, particularly in a genre that I’m attracted to. And then they sent me one of the better action scripts that I’d read in a long time in which I get to play a cool boss of bosses.

Yeah, it looks like it has feature film quality action sequences.

WS: It’s a heck of an undertaking, but that’s definitely our goal. Where we may not have a lot of quantity, we at least have high quality. Some great, great plot twists. Some of the things they have planned this season are really exciting for me as a film actor.

Tell me a little about Mr. Johnson, the pit boss?

WS: He’s the kind of friend you’d love to have. He’s the guy with the best connections, the best hook-ups, the best arrangements. He always has the box seats and the courtside seats. … He knows where the body’s at, but keeps his mouth shut, and can help you get rid of it, if needed.

Is there a consistent message that each episode is trying to convey?

WS: Each episode would be a stand-alone event that has some carryover from episode to episode. The underlying message about the various characters — who they are and what their hidden agendas are — will play out over time. But the actual game, the actual wager, will stand alone from week to week.

How do you enjoy shooting in Vegas?

WS: The idea of being around these individual who have $10 million a night credit lines is very exciting. Watching this show, we can all live vicariously and get a sense of what that lifestyle is like.

Have you collaborated with any of your fellow cast members before?

WS: No, this is my first time working with them.

With so many classic films being redone, is there a remake you’d like to star in?

WS: [Laughs] We had a pretty good idea of doing not exactly a remake but an evolution of “The Sting.” It would be fun to do something like that with Woody [Harrelson].