‘Blade’ Reboot Director Is ‘Honored’ To Work With Mahershala Ali

Bassam Tariq's first narrative feature film Mogul Mowgli is out now.

Blade Mahershala Ali Marvel Studios Bassam Tariq Marvel

Director Bassam Tariq opened up about working with star Mahershala Ali and writer Staci Osei-Kuffour on Marvel’s Blade reboot.

The last live-action Blade film was Trinity, which hit cinemas all the way back in 2004. The rights to the character reverted back to Marvel in 2012, but a reboot remained dormant until Oscar winner Mahershala Ali connected with Marvel Studios President Kevin Feige. A reboot was announced in 2019 and pre-production on the film is swiftly moving along now that Bassam Tariq has been tapped to helm the vampire-thriller.

Bassam Tariq most notably directed Riz Ahmed’s Mogul Mowgli, which opens domestically this weekend. Speaking with The Playlist Podcast Network, Bassam Tariq was asked why the right to make Blade was now. The director shared his relief in being able to discuss the project, cheekily nodding towards Marvel’s infamous secrecy policy.

“That’s such a great question. First of all, I can confirm that I am directing Blade. Marvel is letting me do that. There might be, like, a Marvel sniper here somewhere pointing a gun at me or a redaction device or something. What I will say it’s like, it’s not that I felt it was, I didn’t think that this was gonna happen. You know what I mean? Just to be very honest, I’m honored, and it’s a privilege. I’m here in service of Staci Osei-Kuffour, who is the incredible writer that’s writing the film. She wrote on Watchmen, she wrote also Pen15 and Power and The Morning Show, she’s just a phenomenal presence and a juggernaut in her own right, and Mahershala. For me, it’s really working in their service, and I think that’s how I’m trying to take it day by day because, to think of anything more is tough.”

The director then continued by discussing how there’s very little canon surrounding Blade, allowing him and the creative team to focus on the character instead of side details and continuity.

“What I can tease about it is that we care about character, it’s very important for me, and character is something that…I don’t think of genre, I think of character, and where our character has to go is gonna be really important. What’s so great is it’s not as boxed in as I think people imagine it to be, which I thought it was. But it’s quite exciting. And I think the reality is there no Blade canon. If you ever read the comics, they’re always changing. “Oh it’s this story, it’s this story.’ What’s the canon? It’s not like Peter Parker. His name is Peter Parker. In some comics, his name is Fred H. Blade, you know, instead of Eric Brooks. So it’s an interesting thing. Unfortunately, the runs never lasted that long, and there have been some interesting and exciting waves. But I can say it’s character first.”

Blade is set to be Bassam Tariq’s second film but he’s already proven himself with Mogul Mowgli which opened to critical acclaim in Europe last year. With an award-winning lead actor and writer in tow, Blade is one of the most anticipated films coming out of the MCU.

Full details on Mahershala Ali’s Blade are currently unknown, though Kevin Feige confirmed the reboot will be part of Marvel Studios’ Phase 5. The project is said to have come about after Mahershala Ali called Marvel expressing his interest in Blade following his Academy Award win for his performance in Green Book.

In Marvel Comics, Blade is also known as Eric Brooks, the half-human and half-vampire master martial artist whose mother was killed by a vampire during his birth. Since then, Blade has mastered his own fighting style to take on various types of monsters and rid the world of vampires. Wesley Snipes first portrayed the eponymous hero in 1998’s Blade and returned for the first sequel directed by Guillermo del Toro before making what is now his final appearance as the character in Blade Trinity.

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Source: The Playlist Podcast Network