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GQ’ed: DENZEL WASHINGTON Rocks The Cover Of GQ Magazine! [Part 1]



Hot tamales!!!

I am loving this GQ special issue with Denzel Washington on the cover! Most of all is the very insightful and inspirational interview GQ did with the amazing thespian!

Here is what Denzel Washington had to say in GQ:

What’s your first memory of being onstage?

I was around 7, 8, whatever I was. We did a talent show at the Boys Club. Me and another guy, Wayne Bridges—God rest his soul—he’s the father of Chris Bridges, Ludacris. We decided to be the Beatles. So we went to John’s Bargain Store and bought fake guitars and wigs and did “I Want to Hold Your Hand.”

Is there an actor who has influenced you?

There’s a scene in The Godfather II. De Niro’s in a theater. And he’s looking back. It’s just a look. I don’t think I’ve ever imitated another actor, but there’s nothing wrong with learning from them.

What is the first movie that you recall?

King Kong. The Wizard of Oz was a big one. I remember Caged, these women in prison. I liked that one. But I wasn’t a movie buff. Never thought about the movies. When I was in my teens, it was movies like Shaft or Superfly. I wanted to be like those guys. But I never thought about being an actor, ever. I wanted to be Jim Brown or Gale Sayers, not Sidney Poitier. When I started acting, there weren’t any big black movie stars. There was a little Billy Dee Williams and some Richard Pryor. That was it.

Are there any roles you’ve turned down that you regret?

Seven and Michael Clayton. With Clayton, it was the best material I had read in a long time, but I was nervous about a first-time director, and I was wrong. It happens.

And you wanted a part in Platoon?

That and Full Metal Jacket. They were like, “Well, [Kubrick] doesn’t send out his scripts.” I was like, “Well, then what do you want me to do?” Platoon, I wanted to play the part Willem Dafoe played.

Do you have any code you live by?

I read from the Bible every day, and I read my Daily Word. I read something great yesterday. It said, “Don’t aspire to make a living. Aspire to make a difference.”

In some ways, you’re a cipher. There’s not much you put out there.

But that’s not my job to put stuff out there. Sidney Poitier told me this years ago: “If they see you for free all week, they won’t pay to see you on the weekend, because they feel like they’ve seen you. If you walk by the magazine section in the supermarket and they’ve known you all their life, there’s no mystery. They can’t take the ride.” My professional work is being a better actor. I don’t know how to be a celebrity.

So if they want to see you that way—

I’ve got my own things that I will and won’t do, but it’s not because I “carry the weight of the African-American something” or whatever. I can’t. I’m an actor. First of all, I don’t take myself that seriously. I take what I do seriously, and I try to do a good job.

You’ve worked with Gene Hackman. Any other titans you want to shoot with?

All of ’em. Anybody whose last name ends in an o. De Niro. Pacino. I cut my teeth watching them. Going back to the idea of learning things from other actors—Laurence Olivier was an outside-in kind of guy. He’d find a handle, something on the outside. The Method guys were inside-out. I use a little bit of both. For Mo’ Better Blues, I’ll pick up a trumpet. Not “Oh, what is the emotional innards of a jazz musician?” Hurricane? Start boxing. Sometimes it starts on the outside. Sometimes on the inside.

When the Denzel biopic is made, what would an actor need to have in his performance to make you say, “He got me”?

That suggests I know what it is, and I don’t want to know what it is. That’s part of the mystery. It is what it is. I don’t go, “I gotta make sure I put some of that Denzel Washington-ism in the movie.” I don’t want tricks. I don’t want to lose my mojo.

When you were playing Malcolm X, you said one of the things that helped you “get” Malcolm was noticing that he was always pointing.

That was one of the keys. It wasn’t the key. He does a lot of that. And he didn’t say “against,” he said, “a-ginst.” So I started throwing in extra “a-ginst”s, because it made me feel like I was in rhythm.

Part 2 & Part 3 coming up….

farai – who has written posts on Farai Today.


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