Wesley Snipes & Don Cheadle in 'Brooklyn's Finest'

*Born in Orlando on July 31, 1962 to Marian, a teacher’s aide, and Wesley, Sr., and an aircraft engineer, Wesley Trent Snipes was raised in the South Bronx, although the family moved back to Florida before he was able to graduate from NYC’s famed, Fiorello La Guardia High School of Music and Art. Still, Wesley went on to study drama in college at SUNY Purchase’s prestigious acting conservatory.

However, he dropped out during his junior year to pursue his passion professionally. In Hollywood, the versatile thespian’s stage and Shotokan karate training came in handy in helping him land a variety of roles. The accomplished actor/black belt’s long list of credits on his enviable resume’ include the Blade Trilogy, Jungle Fever, White Men Can’t Jump, U.S. Marshals, Waiting to Exhale, Mo’ Better Blues, New Jack City, Murder at 1600, The Fan, Demolition Man, Passenger 57, To Wong Foo and The Art of War.

Among Wesley’s many accolades include a couple of NAACP Image Awards and making People Magazine’s 50 Most Beautiful People in the World List. And he and his second wife, artist Nikki Park, are raising their four children both in the U.S. and South Korea. For the Robertson Treatment  he talks about his latest film, Brooklyn’s Finest, a gritty, NYC crime saga, directed by Antoine Fuqua, which co-stars Don Cheadle, Richard Gere, Ethan Hawke, Ellen Barkin, Lela Rochon, Will Patton and Vincent D’Onofrio,

Robertson Treatment: What drew you to Brooklyn’s Finest?

Wesley Snipes: I wanted to work with the ensemble of great actors that Antoine Fuqua had assembled. He and I had talked about doing a film together maybe about three or for years prior to actually working on this one. We were trying to find the right project. He was working on other things. I was working on other things, and was out of the country. Then there was a window if opportunity, and he said, “Wes, I want you to play this.” I had some reservations, because of that Nino Brown reference [the character he played in New Jack City]. But he basically explained to me, “that’s part of the reason I want you to do this. The characters have some overtones of that old Nino’s type of lifestyle.” When he told me that Don [Cheadle] would be playing the other character, and who else would be in the cast, I was like, “Well, let’s do this!” [Chuckles]

RT: What is it like to have so many stars on the same set?

WS: I actually love the ensemble environment. That’s what I come from, the so called “bus and truck” repertory theater. So, you put me in with a group of artists, and it’s like a breakdance battle. “Let’s go!”

RT: You’re most famous for playing Blade, the first high-impact, black superhero. What was that experience like?

WS: It was challenging. It was one of our firsts, and it was early on in the game. I had an inkling that it was something that hadn’t been done before, and some of my management at the time didn’t approve of the idea. They actually told me I shouldn’t do it. But I reflected on the fact that we had never seen a film like that before, not just a black superhero, but a black, vampire superhero who fights martial arts. I thought, “We gotta try this, even if just for the fellas around the way.”

RT: Who do you see as the next generation of martial arts actors coming into prominence?

WS: That’s a difficult question. It’s hard to tell because a lot of martial artists aren’t strong actors, and a lot of actors aren’t strong martial artists. But we hope to be able to produce some of them through our company in the near future.

RT: Are you happy?

WS: I am full and well.

RT: When you look in the mirror, what do you see?

WS: A beautiful expression of God having a wonderful human experience.

AUTOMOTIVE SPIN

2010 Kia Soul

Just like its name implies, the new Kia Soul will deliver a lot of heart to your on the road experience. A fun but practical, multi-purpose vehicle, the “Soul” provided me with robust drives during a recent busy week. Extremely reliable and environmentally-friendly, the Kia Soul is the new “It” car whose time has come.

Wow Factor: So much of the Kia Soul feels light and in fact, moves like a dancer on tippy, tippy toes – fast and deliberate. For a small car another added plus of the Soul is how its designers have added storage compartments that will make you forget its small size.  The ride is also surprisingly nimble on the road offering excellent maneuverability, especially on high-speed turns

Ride:   The Soul’s reliability goes in large part to its 2.0-liter inline engine that produces 142 hp and 137 lb-ft of torque. The five-speed manual is standard and able to allow the Soul to go from zero to 60 mph in a respectable 8.8 seconds.

Comfort:  The Kia Soul is outfitted with all of the latest accessories to produce a comfort Behind the wheel drivers will appreciate the straightforward, user-friendly controls that keep buttons and knobs to a minimum. The interior features a lot of interesting shapes and colors, including a center stack that juts out in a pod featuring simple audio and climate controls

Spin Control:  For its MSRP ($13,300 – $17,900), drivers certainly can’t go wrong with Kia Soul. In fact, I would rate it at the head of the class for cars in its category. After a week, I was thoroughly impressed with the Kia Soul. It’s a smart, reliable, purposeful ride that will perform well for multiple demos. If you’re in the market for a car, I strongly recommend that you consider.

Grade: B+

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