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Wesley Snipes: I never thought I would get second chance with Coming To America

Wesley Snipes and Eddie Murphy in Coming 2 America (Amazon Studios/PA)
Wesley Snipes and Eddie Murphy in Coming 2 America (Amazon Studios/PA)

Wesley Snipes has said he “never thought” he would get a chance to star in a Coming To America sequel after losing out on a part in the first movie.

The Blade actor, 58, was in the running to play Darryl Jenks in the 1988 comedy classic about an African prince from the fictional country of Zamunda who travels to Queens, New York, but the part went to ER star Eriq La Salle.

Snipes said he was devastated to miss out on the original film, starring Eddie Murphy and Arsenio Hall, and was overjoyed when he got the chance to play General Izzi in the long-awaited sequel, Coming 2 America.

He told the PA news agency: “I auditioned for that part during the original and didn’t get it.

“I lost out to the great Eriq La Salle, who’s also a friend of mine, and I lamented over the fact that I wasn’t cast.

“But loved the movie, loved the regalia, loved the production, loved the acting, loved seeing Africa in that light, it was a wonderful thing.

“I never thought it would come around again, and I would get a chance to make up for that, what I call one of the first Ls (losses), when I took the L back in the 80s, but it all worked out wonderfully.”

He added: “Some of the cast members from the first one referenced the fact that they never thought, and never imagined, it would come around again, and how wonderful that it is.

Snipes with Teyana Taylor (Amazon Studios/PA)

“Some of them were nervous about it because it is 30 years ago, but I think they’re most happy and they made the right decision.”

Reflecting on how the original film, which is more than 30 years old, plays to a contemporary audience, Snipes said: “I think it holds up pretty well.

“I think there are still some relevant issues, themes that were expressed in the original film, that are relevant today.

“I’m quite confident people know just as little about Africa now as they knew about it then.

“So, some things didn’t change, unfortunately.”

Coming 2 America is released on Amazon Prime Video on Friday March 5.

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