Interview: Denzel Washington

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Denzel on filming in New Orleans: I’m glad to have been a part of getting the film community back in there. I went all around the city. I saw tremendous devastation, and there was a lot of listening to people’s stories of what they’ve been through.

 

(Can you believe this cat is 52?)

Here, two-time Oscar-winner Denzel Washington, an icon who needs no introduction, talks about his latest movie, Déjà Vu, where he plays Doug Carlin, an ATF Agent who travels back in time to prevent a crime and ends up falling in love with a beautiful woman, Paula Patton, he’s trying to save.

BSN: How does it feel to still be a sex symbol at 50?
DW: [He fakes snoring] I don’t know anything about that. I’ll be 52 in December. Turning 50 made me realize that this is not the dress rehearsal. I was already sort of in that mind set before that, but it really hit home to enjoy every day, to try to lead and live a good life, a healthy life, and to keep things simple. Sex symbol? I don’t think about it. I don’t even know what any of that stuff means.

BSN: What about generating screen chemistry with your co-star, Paula Patton?
DW: What about it? [He laughs]

BSN: How did a virtual unknown come to be your co-star?
DW: Well, Tony Scott [the director] said, “I got this girl. You don’t know her. She hasn’t done anything, but she’s right for the part. After I read with her, I wasn’t nervous, but I was just like, ‘Well, she hasn’t done anything.’ But he was right. She’s a lovely girl, a sweetheart. And she has that quality that you want to care about her, or take her of her.

BSN: Have you ever had premonitions in real life like your character in Deja Vu?
DW: You know what? I had an odd one today. I’m going to get the mail out of the mailbox, and I’m standing out on the street by my front gate when I had a feeling somebody’s going to drive by. So I just stood out there. I just had a feeling somebody was coming, so I decided to stand there for a minute. And it wasn’t ten seconds before a white truck goes by. Then it stops, and backs up. And it’s Eddie Murphy, and he gave me the whole scoop on Dreamgirls.

BSN: What’d he say about it?
DW: He said that Jennifer Hudson is stealing the movie. Have you seen it yet?

BSN: Yep.
DW: Does she steal it?

BSN: She sure does, even though he and Beyonce’ and Jamie Foxx certainly hold their own.
DW: He said she stops the movie. And they applaud. As was the case with Jennifer Holliday, like I saw on Broadway. That was an amazing moment in the theater.

BSN: The same thing happened at my screening. A standing ovation during the movie. What was it like filming Déjà Vu in New Orleans?
DW: I’m glad to have been a part of getting the film community back in there. I went all around the city. I saw tremendous devastation, and there was a lot of listening to people’s stories of what they’ve been through. There’s a long way to go there, so I was happy to play a part, in some way, of helping by spending a little money down there and putting people to work.

BSN: Why is it that you only do dramatic roles? Are you just that serious a person?
DW: There’s a clown in me that’s waiting to get out. [Laughs] A lot of people have said to me, “Why don’t you do more comedies? You’re real funny. People don’t get to see that side of you.� I think it’s been eking out in my films more and more, especially Inside Man where I improvised a lot, and there were some funny lines that came out that weren’t written.


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