Interview with Denzel Washington

BATD ON Aug 19, 2012 AT 10:36 am

Denzel Washington and Tony Scott

Denzel Washington and Tony Scott

Denzel Washington often worked with the film director Tony Scott, 2 years ago I interviewed him for their most recent collaboration, the action movie Unstoppable

The Tony Scott film Unstoppable also co-stars young actor Chris Pine, but I had an exclusive interview with Denzel Washington, who entered the room with that big Denzel smile, wearing a cosy navy cashmere jumper and jeans, we sat down and he was friendly and talked easily.

You’ve worked with Tony Scott quite a few times now, what is it about him and working with him that you love so much?  Can we look forward to you working with him in the future?

Well he hasn’t called me for Top Gun 2… but you know in the past, whatever it’s been, in eighteen years we’ve done five movies and he calls me, that’s the first thing, that’s the only way it’s going to happen.  But he also makes excellent films and really it’s a good mix for me and he’s a really nice guy, we get along.

Can I ask you about the stunts?  That was you running on top of the train?

A lot of it was, yeah.  I mean, the stuntman did a lot, an overwhelming majority of it, but I had to do it, you know.  I ran on top of a train going 50 miles an hour, like a fool.

unstoppable

A scene from Unstoppable

This is the second film you’ve made that involves trains, are you quite an expert on trains now?  Can you actually drive one now?

In the first film it was really about hostages, it could have been a train, it could have been a plane, it didn’t matter.  This one, it’s all about the train.  And I did learn to drive a train, I can drive that particular locomotive.

Have you worked hard to maintain your privacy though, because you’re one of the most successful actors?

I don’t work hard at it, I have a great publicist, he works hard at it.  And I think that to a degree you can control that by not doing something stupid, number one.  But I’m just a low key guy, I’m not at every premiere, I’m not looking to be famous.  I’m just an actor, I got a good job and I try to do my job.

Can I take you back, to way back when, when you were training to be a journalist.  Do you ever regret not doing that?

I still think I’m an investigative reporter, I just act out the part instead of writing it.  I do a lot of the same things that you do—research, check my sources, well you guys used to do that…(uncomfortable shuffling ensued..he loved us really)

unstoppable

Denzel running across the train

You mentioned you treat your job as investigative, in term of this role specifically, what did you do to investigate?

Hit the trains, met the guys, learned to drive the trains, drove a train by myself, well they were there but you know.  I met the real guys, met the guy I play.  He’s an edgy sort, Jessie is actually his name, not Frank Lawrence.

Somebody said that they saw the train as the enemy in this film, as the villain, the bad guy, would you put it in those terms?

Yeah I think so.  He definitely shot it like that—low angle shots you know, make it more imposing.  And it’s the beast—in fact we call it The Beast.  It’s like a monster, with the music and the sound.

Denzel was a great fun in the interview, we talked about 3D movies and he, like me hasn’t seen Avatar, he joked that James Cameron doesn’t need his money to see it. Interestingly when it comes to taking on roles his son has an important influence over him with that; his son persuaded him to do Training Day and American Gangster, two of his strongest parts.

When it comes to working in Hollywood he says that age isn’t so much of an issue if you are a man and you can bring in money for the studios but Meryl Streep stands out as one of the few women who are given the same kind of treatment. He enjoyed working with Rosario Dawson, who has a great part in this movie and really plays it well. I recommend this one, it’s edge of the seat viewing!

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