LOOK who's stalking now.
If you are director Tony Scott, your stalker looks a lot like
"I stalked Tony for three days," says Snipes, who admits that
he was a man obsessed when the script for "The Fan" hit his desk.
"I drove by his house a couple of times and yelled out the car
window, `Tony, see, I can be a stalker!' "
Or can he?
In "The Fan," which opened Friday, Robert De Niro is the psycho
sporting-knives salesman who gives new meaning to the word
fan-addict. De Niro is desperate to track every move of his
favorite baseball player, Bobby Rayburn, played by Snipes.
"He starts out being on my side because I'm in a slump," Snipes
says. "Then when I start winning, he gets real pissed at me - like
how dare I start appealing to all these other fans. It's almost
like I'm cheating on him.
"It's a real juicy role."
For De Niro, that is.
"The role I actually wanted to play was the Robert De Niro
character," Snipes says, sitting down for coffee in Los Angeles'
Four Seasons Hotel.
He looks much smaller in person - thin and intense. Dark John
Lennon-style glasses mask his face. Snipes, 34, might hide his
eyes, but he doesn't shy away from speaking his mind.
"I begged Tony to let me be the wacko just this once, but he
was adamant about me considering the baseball character. To me it
would have been a little more challenging to go nuts."
Mr. Action Star of hits such as "Demolition Man" (1993) and
"Passenger 57" (1992) wants to be known as Mr. Serious Actor again.
"I did `The Fan' because I really wanted to get back to acting
again and work with the best, like De Niro," Snipes says. "I'm
tired of this industry only thinking of me as an action star.
"I'm just starting to get better scripts now, but they still
have this physicality incorporated into the characters, and that's
what I'm trying to leave behind for now."
Snipes actually graduated to the "A" list of actors after
dramatic roles in "New Jack City" (1991), "Jungle Fever" (1991) and
the $70 million grossing hit comedy "White Men Can't Jump" (1992).
His action flicks pushed him into superstar land. Consider that
"Passenger 57," which was made for $15 million, took in $44 million
at the box office. He repeated that success with the megahit
"When I started with the action films, it was breaking new
ground," Snipes says. "I had a gun! At that point, you had rarely
seen a black man with a gun shooting anyone for the good of
Then the action slowed down. A string of wham-bang films
followed, including the disappointing "Drop Zone" (1994) and the
flop "Money Train" (1995).
Funny, but when "Money Train" was skidding to disaster, Snipes
was getting whooping cheers for action of another kind.
His small role in "Waiting to Exhale" (1995), where he romances
Angela Bassett but doesn't sleep with her, insisting, "I want to
make this night beautiful," had his female fans palpitating. Enter
Wesley Snipes, Mr. Sex Symbol.
"I did that around the time I decided I wanted to really act
again," he says. "I had just made some adjustments in my managerial
camp that afforded me the opportunity to be more open to do small
roles in good films."
And while trading lines with Bassett, something clicked for
"Something in my brain just turned on and said, `Wesley, you
have to work like this all the time.' "
And the benefit of such work?
The minute the handsome Snipes came on screen in that film,
women were screaming. "Thank you very much," Snipes says. "I felt
like I should take a bow."
Mr. Serious Actor might not like it, but it seems that women
would love to see him playing the romantic hero again. …