esley Snipes didn’t play Blade. He became Blade. The stories of his refusal to break character while playing Marvel Comics’ vampire hunter are legendary, particularly from the set of the series’ final film, 2004’s Blade: Trinity. According to co-star Patton Oswalt, Snipes was so deep inside Blade’s head that after the lines of communication with director David S. Goyer broke down, the star began sending him Post-It notes signed “From Blade.”

While that might have been the most extreme example of Snipes’ Method dedication, he was intensely invested in the character from the beginning. In 1998, he did at least one promotional interview for Blade as Blade. “I’m still looking for him to this day,” Snipes growls about the vampire that killed Blade’s mother, moments before he refers to “Wesley” in the third person.

A grown man talking with utter sincerity about being found as a child by Kris Kristofferson and raised as a vampire hunter is undeniably silly. Still, this clip shows just how ahead of their time Snipes and the first Blade were. In 1998, practically no one in Hollywood took comic books seriously at all, much less this seriously. From the perspective of 2020, it’s clear that Blade is one of the most important and influential movies of the last quarter century.