Denzel Washington opens up about acting profession: ‘I steal the best’ E! News UK

Preparing to direct “A Journal for Jordan,” a bittersweet love story that opens on Christmas Day, Denzel Washington says he’s taken a “master class.”

This master class consisted of staring in a film directed by Joel Coen, “The Tragedy of Macbeth,” which opens on the same day. “I steal the best,” Washington says with a smile.

Denzel Washington the actor has some 60 films to his name, plus two Oscars, and at 66 he is universally regarded as one of the greatest of all time. Denzel Washington the director has just completed his fourth feature film. “I don’t consider myself a director,” he said neutrally in an interview last week. “I continue to learn. “

Before “A newspaper for Jordan”, based on former New York Times editor-in-chief Dana Canedy’s book on her fiance, who fought and died in Iraq, and the life lessons diary he left with their baby, the most recent effort Washington’s director was “Fences.” The 2016 film version of August Wilson’s play starred Washington himself and Oscar-winning Viola Davis.

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Washington has also headed in his two other feature films – “The Great Debaters” in 2007 and “Antwone Fisher” in 2002. But he says he prefers to stay offscreen when at the helm.

Denzel Washington discussed his acting profession in a recent interview.
(Photo de Rich Fury/Getty Images)

“I’d rather not be in the movies,” he said. “At first it was because I could raise the funds to make the films. Then “Clôtures”, obviously, we had a great success on stage, so that translated into film. But I like to be behind the scenes more like a guy. ”

Aside from his recent collaboration with Coen, who he calls “one of the greatest directors,” Washington says he’s sought the advice of other directors he admires.

“I had a great day with Paul Thomas Anderson about a month ago, listening to how he works,” he said. “And Steve McQueen, I spoke with a little bit. I’m learning how to do it, so I’m interested in learning from the best. So, I spoke to the best. “

Michael B. Jordan says he too wants to learn from the best – which is why it was so important for him to be led by Washington. The actor gives a charismatic performance as Canedy’s fiancé, 1st Sgt. Charles Monroe King, who was killed in Iraq in 2006 at the age of 48. (Canedy is performed by Chanté Adams.)

“Being able to work so closely with him was really important,” Jordan said in an interview. “It was a master class, honestly. “

“As an actor you know, growing up, watching all of his movies, watching his performances and being curious about his process – like ‘Dude, I wonder how the greatest of all time rehearses’ or how he’s breaking down his character, ‘”thought Jordan. “His take on his character is so complex. You really realize, ‘Oh, that’s what you’re Denzel for, I get it! I did really well, but it’s the next level. ‘ “

And Jordan said working with Washington was especially important given he’s set to embark on his own directorial debut, directing – and starring in – the upcoming “Creed III.”

“Knowing that I was making ‘Creed III’ afterwards, he made a point of taking me aside a lot, you know? I was always kinda in his back pocket, watching and asking questions and (him) giving me little gems, ”Jordan said.

Denzel Washington said he still has a lot to learn when it comes to acting.
(Edouard Berthelot/GC Images)

The actor recounted how Washington once asked him if he had a screenwriter – he hadn’t and hadn’t intended to do so for several months – and within moments Washington was making the introductions. .

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“He said to me, ‘No, no, take one now,’ Jordan said. “He picked up his phone and called this guy, Warren Drummond. And he said, ‘Warren, this is D. I have Mike B. here, and he’s getting ready to do’ Creed III ‘. Washington put Jordan on the phone, and soon a deal was made.

“So it’s from something as generous as that, he always gave me advice on what to look for because there’s another layer – there aren’t a lot of people who headed, ”Jordan said. “And that’s what’s really hard for me on this one. Washington, Jordan said, told him he had to “identify the few opinions you are really going to anchor your choices on because you won’t have time to go back to the monitors every take and see what you got. . . “

Washington said the original plan was not for him to lead; he got involved in the project through his longtime production partner, Todd Black, 12 years ago, shortly after Canedy wrote his story. It took eight years to develop a script. When Washington saw the script, written by Virgil Williams, he said, “Shoot, I’ll direct that! He says he was drawn to the beauty of the love story – sad, but uplifting.

Jordan, who was also attached to the project for several years before the film was made, says he found a lot to relate to in a father who kept a journal for his toddler son.

“I journal a lot and think about the legacy all the time,” Jordan says. “And one day have a family. And I think about my time on this Earth, and what do I do with it? “

Actor Denzel Washington, who plays Macbeth in the film, arrives at the premiere of "Macbeth's tragedy" at the DGA Theater on Thursday, December 18 in Los Angeles.

Actor Denzel Washington, who plays Macbeth in the film, arrives at the premiere of “The Tragedy of Macbeth” at the DGA Theater on Thursday, December 18 in Los Angeles.
(Jordan Strauss/Invision/AP)

But another main reason he stayed with the movie, as it developed and his own dance card filled up quickly in Hollywood, was Washington. “Denzel directing was a dream come true,” he says.

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Washington says mentorship was important to him as well – starting with Fordham University English and drama professor Robinson Stone, “one of my first mentors who saw the potential I had.” .

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“And just over the years I’ve been fortunate enough to work with some of the greatest filmmakers of all time, so I steal the best,” he said. “Trying to learn from the best, from Spike (Lee) to Tony Scott, Ridley Scott, Norman Jewison, Richard Attenborough, Jonathan Demme. I take a bit of each of them and try to apply it to what I’m learning how to do. “

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Denzel Washington opens up about acting profession: ‘I steal the best’ E! News UK