When it comes to making movies, Denzel Washington is happy to stick to one job at a time.
The “A Journal for Jordan” director and star of “The Tragedy of Macbeth” is on the new cover of Variety, and inside, discusses the two new films.
“Let’s talk about the black and white of it all,” Washington recalls saying to “Macbeth” director Joel Coen in one of their early conversations.
“Well, you’re Black…” Coen began to respond before Washington interrupted.
“No, no, no,” he said. “I’m talking about you shooting in black and white!”
As for why he accepted the lead role in the film adaptation of Shakespeare’s play, Washington said, it was his opportunity to work with “three of the greats” — Coen, Frances McDormand, and Shakespeare.
He says of the production, which was at one point shut down due to the COVID pandemic, “We had the luxury of almost four weeks of rehearsal. So we got to rehearse it like a play, which was great.”
When it comes to stepping behind the camera for “A Journal for Jordan”, Washington reveals that it was the first time he’s ever truly directed, because he was also acting himself in his previous films as director.
“In fact, I never enjoyed headlining and directing,” he says. “I acted in the movies because I needed to in order to get the money to direct them. So now, for me, this feels like the first film I’ve directed, because I’m not in it. That’s the way I prefer it.”
Washington also remembers late “Black Panther” star Chadwick Boseman, saying, “A man among men. He suffered quietly. He made the movie, and nobody knew. I didn’t know. He never said a peep about it. He just did his job. I wondered if something was wrong because he seemed weak or tired sometimes. We had no idea, and it was nobody’s business. Good for him, keeping it to himself.”
At 67 years old, Washington is growing into a Hollywood elder statesman, leaving some wondering who the next Denzel will be.
“What does the next Denzel mean?” Washington asks. “Does that mean there can only be one?”
Listing actors like Mahershala Ali and Jamie Foxx, he adds, “It doesn’t have to be one person.”