Wesley Snipes auditioned for a role in the original Coming to America, but didn’t make the cut. The veteran star jokes: “It made me feel extremely disappointed. I wanted to quit the business and re-evaluate my purpose for living.”
Those feelings were made worse when he saw the film on its release in 1988. “It was magical and the imagery was magical and it was a cast of actors I’d long admired.”
Since then he’s worked with director Craig Brewer and star Eddie Murphy on the 2019 film Dolemite is my Name. Now he’s back with them for his role as the comic villain General Izzy in Coming 2 America.
He had a lot of fun making the new film and hopes that it will show audiences around the world how long it’s been since we’ve seen that scale of “African excellence”.
“It’s Afro-futurism and black love, and we’ve all longed for it,” he says.
“We’re reminded when we see it, how much we missed it. This is another one of those occasions. It’s a wonderful, family-oriented film, something that the kids can watch as well as the adults and all the adults that are still kids. It’s an upbeat film and that’s something that we need now — some upliftment.”
Comedian Tracy Morgan, who plays Uncle Reem in Coming 2 America, remembers that when he saw the first film back in 1989 it was like the black Wizard of Oz.
“It was incredible. I’d never seen that type of cinematography. Eddie was magic and, as a black American, to see black excellence on screen was exciting to me. It was iconic. I’m very happy to be part of part 2.”
He describes the atmosphere on the set of Coming 2 America as “a party. Every day. You didn’t want to leave the set. It was like being back on the corner drinking a beer with your boys – it was fun.”
He hopes that the new film will show audiences that the cast wanted to do things that people can relate to and identify with: “Family and love. Not forgetting where you come from, staying true to yourself and giving yourself a chance.”