Harold Perrineau’s showbiz odyssey has taken him from the stage (he was a dancer in the illustrious Alvin Ailey American Dance Theater and appeared on prominent productions of “Dreamgirls” and “Fame”) to the big screen (he was Link in the “Matrix” trilogy and Mercutio in Baz Luhrmann’s “Romeo + Juliet”) to landmark television programs (Michael Dawson on “Lost” and Augustus Hill on “Oz”). Now Perrineau is the voice of the vampire-hunting title character in “Blade,” G4’s newest Marvel Anime project. Hero Complex writer Jevon Phillips caught up with the Brooklyn native.
JP: What was your experience with Blade before taking the role?
HP: I had only seen the movies. I was a big fan of the movies, especially the first two. I really loved watching Wesley Snipes being this bad-ass vampire slayer and vampire. That was all I knew him from. I didn’t know the comic books.
JP: Describe your Blade as opposed to Wesley Snipes’?
HP: I actually went back and watched the movies when I got the job. I wanted to make sure that my Blade was more similar to his than not. And one of the things I was looking for was how much swagger he has. Wesley played this really fine line between having swagger and the cool lines, with just playing it straight with emotion. It was cool to watch. He wasn’t always swaggerific — if that’s a word. So that’s what I incorporated with this Blade. I don’t normally speak like that so I just took what part of it sounded cool — whenever he actually felt calm enough and clear enough to sound cool — and then part where he was just being a vampire, and not sound as nerdy as I sound on the phone. I’m like, “Yeah, I don’t sound like I kill vampires.”
JP: The most popular vampires onscreen are mostly tortured, conflicted souls trying to do right. Definitely a departure from the vamps of yesteryear. What do you think of the way vampires are portrayed nowadays?
HP: It’s really interesting. It feels to me that all of the vampire mythology now caters to angst-ridden teens and young adults. All of the vampires seem like they’re conflicted about doing the right thing and the wrong thing. The vampires of yesteryear, especially old old-school vampires, they were of one mind. “OK, I’m going to go suck some blood and go back to sleep.” Dracula just did one thing — and he wasn’t conflicted about it. That’s what I like about Blade, too. He’s not conflicted at all. He knows what he has to do. He knows what he has desires for, and does things to combat his bloodlust. He doesn’t want it, but it’s also the source of his greatest power, so he does what he wants with it. He’s killing vampires with no apology whatsoever. And I like that. I like that single-minded focus, as opposed to that angst-ridden, “I’m young and I’m hot” thing.
JP: How has life after “Lost” been?
HP: You know, my life with “Lost” ended just two years in. I then came back for a season, but really I was gone. I just kind of got back to what I always did. Little movies here and there. It was cool being on the show, and just being a part of it all, but I’m just back to doing other great things. I’m on this cool show called “The Wedding Band.”
JP: Have you watched the other Marvel anime — X-Men and/or Iron Man?
HP: They gave me a couple so that I could see what they were like. I didn’t even know that they were doing them. So I used them as a reference and — I don’t know if I’m giving anything away — but a couple of those characters will be in “Blade.”
JP: Just in case, do you at all see this becoming a live-action thing? Could we see another reboot?
HP: You know what … I would shave my head and get into the gym tomorrow if they said that I could play Blade. I’d be in the gym pumping iron, doing kung fu… I would love to play Blade live-action. I think the character is ridiculously cool. I’m never going to be as cool as Wesley Snipes was, but I’d give it a shot.
— Jevon Phillips
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