Nov 27, 2020
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Denzel Washington plans to follow in Clint Eastwood’s footsteps

"Clint Eastwood ‘s my hero," Denzel Washington says. "That’s the model. He’s the guy." At this stage of his career, the two-time Oscar winner is most interested in going the actor-turned-director route, citing George Clooney , Sean Penn and Ben Affleck as examples. "There’s a generation of us now that are moving in that direction."

He likes the idea of staying behind the camera, rather than pulling double duty as filmmaker and performer as he did in his 2002 directorial debut "Antwone Fisher" and now "The Great Debaters."

But not so fast.

Washington wanted to stay behind the camera for his latest film, but Harvey Weinstein , whose company put up the money along with Oprah Winfrey’s Harpo Films, wanted to ensure the movie had the star power of the strikingly handsome, 6-foot leading man – and upped the budget to have him in front of camera too.

"I understand the business of it. And I said all right, all right," Washington says, adding matter-of-factly that casting himself is "not bad casting."

While he was happy to get a Golden Globe nomination for his muscular performance as a Harlem drug lord in "American Gangster," Washington sounds particularly tickled by the best-picture Globe bid for "The Great Debaters." He says it felt like the first time he received a best-actor Academy Award nod 20 years ago, for "Cry Freedom."

"So I am excited about it. It’s like: Wow, OK, I’ve tried this new career, which is frightening enough as it is – to jump out there. To be successful in one area and then jump out there, you’re really sticking your chin out there," he says, then imagining what people might be thinking: "’Oh really? Oh, does he? Well let’s just see."’

And an Oscar nomination still might be in the offing for his bravura "Gangster" work.

"You never know. It’s all good. It’s all gravy at this point," says the five-time nominee who won for 2001’s "Training Day" and 1989’s "Glory."

In talking about the new movie in a conference room at NPR’s midtown Manhattan studios, Washington is garrulous – actually, almost giddy. He laughs often and is quite animated in discussing the life-affirming tale of the debate team at all-black Wiley College that took on major, predominantly white universities in 1935 and won.

Most of all, he’s excited by the themes of transcending the sum and limit of one’s experience. Even though the movie (based on real events and co-starring Forest Whitaker ) is punctuated by a lynching, racially motivated beatings and clear-cut signs of segregation, Washington, who plays the debate team’s coach (like in "Remember the Titans"), says: "It’s not a film about racism in the South. It’s a film about young people overcoming obstacles."

Professor Henry Louis Gates Jr., director of the W.E.B. Du Bois Institute for African and African American Research at Harvard, says the film "is not just a great David-and-Goliath story, but it’s an important story that resonates today."

The way it resonates with Washington, who turns 53 on Friday, is in terms of old-fashioned values – that there’s no easy way.

"You have to do what you gotta do in this life in order to do what you wanna do, or in order to get somewhere. Whatever your obstacles are. Pick one: Race, obesity, peer pressure … drugs. Whatever it is," he says.

"I injected a line (into the movie) which my kids have grown up on, which is: ‘We do what we gotta do, so that you can do what you want to do.’ … No you can’t go running the streets before you study. Or you have to prepare for your exam before you watch television. That’s how life is," says the father of four. (With wife Pauletta, he has 16-year old twins, a 19-year-old Ivy Leaguer daughter, and 23-year-old son John David, a Morehouse College graduate and aspiring pro football running back.)

"A lot of times now in this fast-food society we have, kids are led to believe that you can just do what you want to do."

He learned solid values while growing up in Mount Vernon, just north of New York city – though with an old-school generational difference.

"They probably said, ‘You’re doing what you gotta do, and then you gonna do what I say.’ Back then, there probably was no ‘and you do what you wanna do.’ I don’t remember the ‘do what you wanna do’ part," he says, laughing.

"If there’s a lesson," he goes on, disdainfully making finger quotes and deepening his voice in mock pretentiousness, "for us adults, you know, it’s to keep reaching back, to keep helping (young people).

"To say it’s a lesson on race is to suggest I know more about it than you and this is something you need. It’s not medicine.

Not here’s a comment on race in America in 1935."

Washington thinks the advent of television killed off debate as a spectator sport; plus, now there are so many options: video games, the Internet …

Still, the spoken word is not dead, he observes. "Look at rap. Two guys get up and verbally spar." And, he notes, a 21st century form of debate is called blogging.

Last week, he gave $1 million to Wiley College in Marshall, Texas, to re-establish and maintain the debate team for the next decade.

"Nothing would give me greater joy that imagining in the next 10 years – not that they would win the national championship – that they’re a good team," he says. "It’s a good thing. I just think it’s a good thing."

<font size=1>Source: Associated Press/CityNews</font>

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Front Page, Industry News

Denzel Washington plans to follow in Clint Eastwood’s footsteps

"Clint Eastwood ‘s my hero," Denzel Washington says. "That’s the model. He’s the guy." At this stage of his career, the two-time Oscar winner is most interested in going the actor-turned-director route, citing George Clooney , Sean Penn and Ben Affleck as examples. "There’s a generation of us now that are moving in that direction."

He likes the idea of staying behind the camera, rather than pulling double duty as filmmaker and performer as he did in his 2002 directorial debut "Antwone Fisher" and now "The Great Debaters."

But not so fast.

Washington wanted to stay behind the camera for his latest film, but Harvey Weinstein , whose company put up the money along with Oprah Winfrey’s Harpo Films, wanted to ensure the movie had the star power of the strikingly handsome, 6-foot leading man – and upped the budget to have him in front of camera too.

"I understand the business of it. And I said all right, all right," Washington says, adding matter-of-factly that casting himself is "not bad casting."

While he was happy to get a Golden Globe nomination for his muscular performance as a Harlem drug lord in "American Gangster," Washington sounds particularly tickled by the best-picture Globe bid for "The Great Debaters." He says it felt like the first time he received a best-actor Academy Award nod 20 years ago, for "Cry Freedom."

"So I am excited about it. It’s like: Wow, OK, I’ve tried this new career, which is frightening enough as it is – to jump out there. To be successful in one area and then jump out there, you’re really sticking your chin out there," he says, then imagining what people might be thinking: "’Oh really? Oh, does he? Well let’s just see."’

And an Oscar nomination still might be in the offing for his bravura "Gangster" work.

"You never know. It’s all good. It’s all gravy at this point," says the five-time nominee who won for 2001’s "Training Day" and 1989’s "Glory."

In talking about the new movie in a conference room at NPR’s midtown Manhattan studios, Washington is garrulous – actually, almost giddy. He laughs often and is quite animated in discussing the life-affirming tale of the debate team at all-black Wiley College that took on major, predominantly white universities in 1935 and won.

Most of all, he’s excited by the themes of transcending the sum and limit of one’s experience. Even though the movie (based on real events and co-starring Forest Whitaker ) is punctuated by a lynching, racially motivated beatings and clear-cut signs of segregation, Washington, who plays the debate team’s coach (like in "Remember the Titans"), says: "It’s not a film about racism in the South. It’s a film about young people overcoming obstacles."

Professor Henry Louis Gates Jr., director of the W.E.B. Du Bois Institute for African and African American Research at Harvard, says the film "is not just a great David-and-Goliath story, but it’s an important story that resonates today."

The way it resonates with Washington, who turns 53 on Friday, is in terms of old-fashioned values – that there’s no easy way.

"You have to do what you gotta do in this life in order to do what you wanna do, or in order to get somewhere. Whatever your obstacles are. Pick one: Race, obesity, peer pressure … drugs. Whatever it is," he says.

"I injected a line (into the movie) which my kids have grown up on, which is: ‘We do what we gotta do, so that you can do what you want to do.’ … No you can’t go running the streets before you study. Or you have to prepare for your exam before you watch television. That’s how life is," says the father of four. (With wife Pauletta, he has 16-year old twins, a 19-year-old Ivy Leaguer daughter, and 23-year-old son John David, a Morehouse College graduate and aspiring pro football running back.)

"A lot of times now in this fast-food society we have, kids are led to believe that you can just do what you want to do."

He learned solid values while growing up in Mount Vernon, just north of New York city – though with an old-school generational difference.

"They probably said, ‘You’re doing what you gotta do, and then you gonna do what I say.’ Back then, there probably was no ‘and you do what you wanna do.’ I don’t remember the ‘do what you wanna do’ part," he says, laughing.

"If there’s a lesson," he goes on, disdainfully making finger quotes and deepening his voice in mock pretentiousness, "for us adults, you know, it’s to keep reaching back, to keep helping (young people).

"To say it’s a lesson on race is to suggest I know more about it than you and this is something you need. It’s not medicine.

Not here’s a comment on race in America in 1935."

Washington thinks the advent of television killed off debate as a spectator sport; plus, now there are so many options: video games, the Internet …

Still, the spoken word is not dead, he observes. "Look at rap. Two guys get up and verbally spar." And, he notes, a 21st century form of debate is called blogging.

Last week, he gave $1 million to Wiley College in Marshall, Texas, to re-establish and maintain the debate team for the next decade.

"Nothing would give me greater joy that imagining in the next 10 years – not that they would win the national championship – that they’re a good team," he says. "It’s a good thing. I just think it’s a good thing."

<font size=1>Source: Associated Press/CityNews</font>

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Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Front Page, Industry News

Denzel Washington plans to follow in Clint Eastwood’s footsteps

"Clint Eastwood ‘s my hero," Denzel Washington says. "That’s the model. He’s the guy." At this stage of his career, the two-time Oscar winner is most interested in going the actor-turned-director route, citing George Clooney , Sean Penn and Ben Affleck as examples. "There’s a generation of us now that are moving in that direction."

He likes the idea of staying behind the camera, rather than pulling double duty as filmmaker and performer as he did in his 2002 directorial debut "Antwone Fisher" and now "The Great Debaters."

But not so fast.

Washington wanted to stay behind the camera for his latest film, but Harvey Weinstein , whose company put up the money along with Oprah Winfrey’s Harpo Films, wanted to ensure the movie had the star power of the strikingly handsome, 6-foot leading man – and upped the budget to have him in front of camera too.

"I understand the business of it. And I said all right, all right," Washington says, adding matter-of-factly that casting himself is "not bad casting."

While he was happy to get a Golden Globe nomination for his muscular performance as a Harlem drug lord in "American Gangster," Washington sounds particularly tickled by the best-picture Globe bid for "The Great Debaters." He says it felt like the first time he received a best-actor Academy Award nod 20 years ago, for "Cry Freedom."

"So I am excited about it. It’s like: Wow, OK, I’ve tried this new career, which is frightening enough as it is – to jump out there. To be successful in one area and then jump out there, you’re really sticking your chin out there," he says, then imagining what people might be thinking: "’Oh really? Oh, does he? Well let’s just see."’

And an Oscar nomination still might be in the offing for his bravura "Gangster" work.

"You never know. It’s all good. It’s all gravy at this point," says the five-time nominee who won for 2001’s "Training Day" and 1989’s "Glory."

In talking about the new movie in a conference room at NPR’s midtown Manhattan studios, Washington is garrulous – actually, almost giddy. He laughs often and is quite animated in discussing the life-affirming tale of the debate team at all-black Wiley College that took on major, predominantly white universities in 1935 and won.

Most of all, he’s excited by the themes of transcending the sum and limit of one’s experience. Even though the movie (based on real events and co-starring Forest Whitaker ) is punctuated by a lynching, racially motivated beatings and clear-cut signs of segregation, Washington, who plays the debate team’s coach (like in "Remember the Titans"), says: "It’s not a film about racism in the South. It’s a film about young people overcoming obstacles."

Professor Henry Louis Gates Jr., director of the W.E.B. Du Bois Institute for African and African American Research at Harvard, says the film "is not just a great David-and-Goliath story, but it’s an important story that resonates today."

The way it resonates with Washington, who turns 53 on Friday, is in terms of old-fashioned values – that there’s no easy way.

"You have to do what you gotta do in this life in order to do what you wanna do, or in order to get somewhere. Whatever your obstacles are. Pick one: Race, obesity, peer pressure … drugs. Whatever it is," he says.

"I injected a line (into the movie) which my kids have grown up on, which is: ‘We do what we gotta do, so that you can do what you want to do.’ … No you can’t go running the streets before you study. Or you have to prepare for your exam before you watch television. That’s how life is," says the father of four. (With wife Pauletta, he has 16-year old twins, a 19-year-old Ivy Leaguer daughter, and 23-year-old son John David, a Morehouse College graduate and aspiring pro football running back.)

"A lot of times now in this fast-food society we have, kids are led to believe that you can just do what you want to do."

He learned solid values while growing up in Mount Vernon, just north of New York city – though with an old-school generational difference.

"They probably said, ‘You’re doing what you gotta do, and then you gonna do what I say.’ Back then, there probably was no ‘and you do what you wanna do.’ I don’t remember the ‘do what you wanna do’ part," he says, laughing.

"If there’s a lesson," he goes on, disdainfully making finger quotes and deepening his voice in mock pretentiousness, "for us adults, you know, it’s to keep reaching back, to keep helping (young people).

"To say it’s a lesson on race is to suggest I know more about it than you and this is something you need. It’s not medicine.

Not here’s a comment on race in America in 1935."

Washington thinks the advent of television killed off debate as a spectator sport; plus, now there are so many options: video games, the Internet …

Still, the spoken word is not dead, he observes. "Look at rap. Two guys get up and verbally spar." And, he notes, a 21st century form of debate is called blogging.

Last week, he gave $1 million to Wiley College in Marshall, Texas, to re-establish and maintain the debate team for the next decade.

"Nothing would give me greater joy that imagining in the next 10 years – not that they would win the national championship – that they’re a good team," he says. "It’s a good thing. I just think it’s a good thing."

<font size=1>Source: Associated Press/CityNews</font>

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Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

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