American actor Wesley Snipes on the set of The Waterdance, directed by Neal Jimenez and Michael Steinberg. (Photo by Bill Nation/Sygma via Getty Images)
Movies - TV
Wesley Snipes Left Keanu Reeves Out To Dry In Their White Men Can't Jump Audition
In addition to being a relative unknown in the early ‘90s, Wesley Snipes wasn't a great basketball player, but Woody Harrelson convinced writer-director Ron Shelton to cast Snipes in “White Men Can’t Jump.” Harrelson had yet to be cast himself, and Snipes was determined to repay the favor, even if it meant sabotaging his reads with other actors vying for the role of Billy Hoyle.
Then-up-and-comer Keanu Reeves was being considered for the role of Billy Hoyle, but when Reeves auditioned with Snipes, their scenes were undercut by an uncooperative Snipes. In an interview with EW, Snipes admitted, “[Reeves] would improvise and say something where there would be a natural response from me, and I just left him out there like dirty laundry.”
Shelton told EW that Reeves was just “not a basketball player.” However, the right actors were cast, as he added, “Woody and Wesley had magic instantly. [...] Wesley could come up with a funny line and Woody could steal the moment with his reaction. That's the key to chemistry and you don't get it very often. You need two people who can't do what the other one does.”