Wesley Snipes remembered battling Prince during auditions for a key role in Michael Jackson's 18-minute "Bad" short-film on Conan on Wednesday. Snipes ultimately won the part, landing one of his first major on-screen looks before he exploded as a movie superstar in the Nineties.
"Me and Prince were auditioning together, and I blew Prince out of the water," Snipes declared. "Michael had told Prince that he had the role, and then he met me."
"This is a true story," he reiterated. "Prince was actually considered the lead character in the 'Bad' video, and then Michael met me and kicked Prince to the curb."
In a VH1 interview with Chris Rock in 1997, Prince offered a different reason for not appearing in the "Bad" video: He said he turned down the role because he wasn't comfortable being the object of the single's sensual first line, "Your butt is mine."
The "Bad" clip, directed by Martin Scorsese, is an 18-minute story revolving around inner-city gangs, and Snipes said part of the reason he got the role was that Jackson believed he was actually a gang member in real life. "[Jackson] really thought I was in a gang – he didn't know that I was a trained thespian," the actor recalled. "At the time, the great Michael hadn't spent very much time in the 'hood."
Snipes was visiting Conan to promote his debut novel, Talon of God.