Wesley Snipes Talks About Being Michael Jackson’s Bodyguard

When Michael Jackson filmed the music video for his song “Bad” in 1987, Jackson had Martin Scorsese directing it. In the video, Michael and his dancers were dressed as gang members and the choreography was reminiscent of West Side Story.

Rolling Stonereports that Thursday night (September 17), Wesley Snipes went on The Tonight Show with Jimmy Fallon and talked a little about how he was cast for the video. Fallon brought up the experience by showing a black and white picture of a young Snipes with Jackson to the applause of the audience. Fallon inquired about how Snipes came to be involved with Jackson.

“I auditioned for Scorsese and Q – Quincy Jones – and they selected me out of, I don’t know, maybe hundreds of guys who auditioned.”

Snipes talked to Fallon about his experience with Jackson and the impression he received from the singer.

“The great Michael: the inspiration, the muse. Michael was very interesting – very, very interesting… He actually was a little nervous filming in Harlem because we filmed some of the ‘Bad’ video there in Harlem… He was a little nervous because the fans were a little ambivalent with him. Some of them loved him. Some of them hated him. So you hear them literally yelling out, ‘Michael Jackson! We love you! Oh my God – I want to have your baby.’ And you have other people going, ‘You ain’t bleep! Michael Jackson, you ain’t never coming back to the ‘hood! Michael Jackson, what you do for us?’ So Michael turned to me and was like, ‘Are you scared?’ I was like, ‘Yo, Mike, what are you talking about?’ ‘Are you scared? Really, are you scared?’ I was like, ‘No, Mike, this is Harlem, baby! This is where we grew up. They love you. Really, you’re scared?’ He was like, ‘A little.'”

Snipes’ story had the crowd, the band, and Fallon roaring in laughter, but mostly because of his high pitched impersonation of Jackson. Snipes has such a deep, resonating voice and the difference between his and that of Michael is pretty vast.

Snipes went on to say that though he was originally cast as an actor for Michael in the video, he was soon demoted to being a “de-facto bodyguard” for Jackson. Wesley said that despite the demotion, he would do it all over again.

“But I would do it again anytime. He’s such an inspiration, such a wonderful talent.”

Watch Wesley Snipes talk about Michael Jackson on The Tonight Show below.

[Photo Courtesy of Hulton Archive/Getty Images]