At this point, Die Hard is well known as one of those must-watch action classics. Fans have dissected the film for the last three decades, and many have become intimately familiar with it, but it turns out the movie never fails to deliver even more revelations. In fact, at a recent 30th anniversary screening of the film, Reginald VelJohnson revealed that none other than Blade actor Wesley Snipes initially went out for the role of Twinkie-loving Al Powell. VelJohnson opened up about his own audition and explained:
Die Hard has become infamous for the sheer number of famous actors who almost took on now-iconic roles. Jurassic Park's Sam Neill was in the running for the role of Hans Gruber before the late Alan Rickman signed on, and action heroes like Arnold Schwarzenegger and Mel Gibson were considered for John McClane before Moonlighting star Bruce Willis came onboard. Now we know that the role of Al Powell was no different, as Reginal VelJohnson beat out many "well-known" actors including Wesley Snipes to portray McClane's LAPD buddy.
It goes without saying that the casting of Wesley Snipes as Al Powell would've fundamentally changed Die Hard and the dynamic between the loveable beat cop and Bruce Willis' John McClane. Much of the charm of Al Powell comes from the everyman quality that Reginald VelJohnson injects into the character. By contrast, Wesley Snipes eventually went on to become a world-famous action hero in his own right. It's impossible to know what Snipes' Powell would've looked like, but it's safe to assume that it would've been different from the one we got.
Reginald VelJohnson's remarks at the Die Hard anniversary screening (via /Film) underscore the fact that the classic film represents yet another near-miss for Wesley Snipes in the action genre. Over the course of his career, Snipes went out for a few roles that never came to fruition. Al Powell in Die Hard is one example, but there was also a chance for him to play T'Challa in John Singleton's potential Black Panther movie back in the 1990s -- a version of the Marvel story far different from the Marvel Cinematic Universe take on Black Panther that we got this year. Now it looks like we can add Die Hard to the list of classic movies that he almost appeared in throughout his career.
Of course, we will have to wait and see what the future holds for the Die Hard franchise. Bruce Willis has publicly stated that he's interested in getting the ball rolling on the sixth installment, and recent reports have noted that the film (which will take the form of a sequel-prequel hybrid) is being rewritten by The Conjuring's writers. Who knows? Given this revelation, maybe the writers will even find room for Wesley Snipes in Die Hard 6.
Originally from Connecticut, Conner grew up in San Diego and graduated from Chapman University in 2014. He now lives in Los Angeles working in and around the entertainment industry and can mostly be found binging horror movies and chugging coffee.
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