American actor Mahershala Ali has been on everyone’s radar since he picked up an Oscar for his fantastic performance in Moonlight, following it up with another Academy Award win for his work in Green Book. In recent years, he has branched out into various projects ranging from comedy shows like Ramy to serious psychological thrillers such as True Detective.
Ali has been a part of the MCU for a while now, having portrayed Cornell “Cottonmouth” Stokes in the show Luke Cage. It was the actor himself who approached Marvel president Kevin Feige for the opportunity to star in his dream project and Feige gave him the green light back in 2019. Now, it seems like Ali’s dream is finally going to come true.
After appearing in an uncredited cameo in Eternals, Ali is set to star in a standalone Blade film which will be directed by Bassam Tariq. For many people, however, it is almost impossible to think of Blade and not think of the iconic performance of Wesley Snipes who immortalised the character in the hearts and minds of audiences all over the world.
“Wesley was Blade! It wasn’t that he was like Blade, or that he played like Blade. He was Blade,” cinematographer Theo van de Sande said. “When he came onto the set he had his posse around him and they’d stride onto the set. They flowed into the space. I dealt with him a lot and liked him a lot. We had a good time together. He was also a co-producer on the film.”
While talking about the voice cameo in Eternals, Ali said: “It was really cool, getting to do that… It was scary. Because, you know, you’re talking before you’re filming it. I’m pretty particular about my choices, like most actors, and so having to make some choices – even with a line, vocally – this early on, it brought up some very real anxieties.”
Adding, “It made the job real. It’s like, ‘Okay, this is happening now’, you know, and that’s exciting. That Marvel world is obviously the biggest in film, and just to get my little introduction to that – starting with the Comic Con a couple years ago, and now the very early stages of stepping into the shoes of that character – it felt special and really cool,” he says. “I’m excited to get going and do more.”
Although many details about the project aren’t clear at this stage, the filming will begin in 2022 and will be allocated a release date according to future MCU phase schedules.