We are deep into a Wesleyssance at this point, as Wesley Snipes has returned from everything from Home Video Hell, to tax exile, to tax jail as a go-to scene-stealer. Appearing on Jimmy Kimmel Live on the day before the long-anticipated Coming 2 America was scheduled to hit Amazon Prime. (The film was actually released on Thursday, as it turns out, because what are release dates any more?) Animated, goofy, and filled with stories, Snipes was clearly relishing his time back in the late-night spotlight, regaling Kimmel with anecdotes about former costars, famous friends, and all the other hallmarks of a true Renaissnipes. (We’re still workshopping the name, but nobody can deny that the Dolemite Is My Name standout is having a welcome return to big screen goodness.)
As to joining the three-decades-later sequel to pal Eddie Murphy’s beloved 1988 prince out of water comedy Coming To America, the now 58-year-old Snipes told Kimmel it’s about time, since the actor was called back again and again for a role in the original film—which was ultimately played by Eriq La Salle. or “my friend at the time, Eriq La Salle,” as Snipes joked, explaining that he made up form lost time by—you guessed it—stealing scenes as a fearsome but perpetually dancing warlord rival to Murphy’s benevolent Prince Akeem. Snipes also chatted excitedly about his dancing days in the “Bronx is burning” 1970s, when he busted all sorts of moves as a street breakdancer, back before anyone even dreamed of what Snipes termed that “American art form” being included in the Olympics.
Snipes, who—along with costars Murphy and Arsenio Hall—seems not to have aged at all in the intervening 33 years, playfully responded to all Kimmel’s questions about other former acting partners. (To be fair, Kimmel didn’t ask any Blade: Trinity questions.) After deadpanning, “I hate that guy,” Snipes admitted that he and White Men Can’t Jump (and, c’mon, Money Train) sidekick Woody Harrelson are still tight, explaining that the duo’s competitiveness didn’t end at the basketball court. (Ultra-competitive Harrelson will challenge you to a backflip contest—or would have beck then, anyway.)
As for other pal Stevie Wonder, Snipes had Kimmel guessing as Snipes assured the host that Wonder is not only freaking hilarious to hang with, he’s also a seriously dangerous martial artist. Kimmel tried to find out if it’s actually a thing that the famously sightless music legend is also a martial arts master, with Snipes stating boldly, “Jimmy, let me give you some words of advice: Stevie Wonder will kick your ass.” He also compared Wonder to cinema’s most famous blind swordsman, calling Wonder “Zato-Stevie,” and assuring Kimmel that Wonder’s other nickname, “Fingertips,” has nothing to do with pianos. Don’t question it.