Wesley Snipes has his much-publicized tax troubles to thank for his latest movie role in cop drama "Brooklyn's Finest" - because director Antoine Fuqua hired him after watching the actor handle himself in the midst of the crisis. The "Blade" star has become a Hollywood outcast ever since tax problems landed him in court following an international bid to track the actor down.
He is currently free on bail, awaiting an appeal on his three-year prison sentence on U.S. federal tax charges. Snipes was convicted in 2008 of three misdemeanor counts of willful failure to file his income tax return over a series of years.
But the controversy didn't put "Training Day" director Fuqua off hiring the fallen star - in fact it made him all the more keen to add Snipes to his all-star cast, which features Richard Gere, Ethan Hawke and Don Cheadle. The moviemaker tells the Los Angeles Times, "I didn't want a guy who yells and screams. I wanted someone you feel fear but also sympathy, and then I saw Wesley going through what he was going through and I thought, 'This is a guy who's living it right now'."
And the actor is grateful to Fuqua for giving him the chance to star in another Hollywood movie after years of having to work abroad on B-movie, straight-to-DVD projects. He says, "It's good to be welcomed home... (I've been making movies for people who) use filmmaking like they're selling toasters, toothbrushes or henna on the beach."
"You read some of what the fans are saying, things like, 'Why is he now doing the B-movies?' and I was like, 'My man, that's not my preference'."