Mahershala Ali has opened up about becoming Blade, revealing that he took the initiative to become the comic-book icon.
The Oscar-winning actor portrayed the villainous Cottonmouth in the Marvel show, but had already set his sights on Eric Brooks, the half-vampire “day-walker” who Wesley Snipes previously played to great acclaim in three films.
Ali said he “kept hearing they were trying to find a way to remake” Blade, and the fact that he was now in the Marvel sphere allowed him to ask for an update and declare his interest in the part.
“Since they were having conversations about bringing it back into being, I just wanted to be considered for it because I had definitely a connection, at least in my mind, to Wesley Snipes going back to high school,” he said.
“People use to joke and say that we looked alike and all this stuff. I just brought it up as someone who really wanted to take on that [Blade] role and tackle that.”
Marvel was clearly keen on collaborating with Ali on Blade, and soon enough producer Kevin Feige had offered him the part. Ali accepted, and was announced as Blade at the 2019 San Diego Comic-Con.
But why was Ali so attracted to Blade?
He told Tight Rope that he loved that it was “darker” in terms of its tone, adding: “He's a little bit darker than some of the other ones and so that element was attractive to me.”
At the same time, Ali admitted that he was inspired by the work of Snipes in the original Blade trilogy.
But considering that those films were released in 1998, 2002 and 2004, Ali said it was time for an update, especially since so much has “changed since his iteration”.