This is one fine brother here…and let truth be told, the older he gets the more handsome he become,–salt-and-pepper beard and all!! At 57-years-old, who better then Denzel Washington to grace the October issue of GQ Magazine?!? Decked out in a Giorgio Armani suit, and Tom Ford shoes, he delivered an outstanding photo shoot for the mag, to compliment his smooth interview!
During the interview, he talked about whether or not he believes Obama fits in and what his take is,–on same sex marriages, he also discusses how he felt when Whitney died. He’s actually very comical lol, –Check out a few excerpts from the interview after the break, along with his featured pics…
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.
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.
What did you feel when Whitney died?
Whitney was my girl, and she had done so well in recovery. And that is the toughest part about addiction.
Not “talk every month” friends, but I talked to her from time to time. And that was a monster drug that got ahold of her, it was a mean one. You can’t go back to that one. Nobody beats that. I look at people—and I don’t think I’m speaking out of line—Sam Jackson, I’ve known for thirty-some-odd years, he was down at the bottom. And he came all the way back. And when he cleaned up, he never looked back. But he can’t have that beer, because it might lead to the tough thing.
Whitney was such a sweet, sweet girl and really just a humble girl. You know, they made her this thing. She had a voice, obviously, but they packaged her into this whole whatever, but she was really just this humble, sweet girl. Me and Lenny [Kravitz], we were talking about her yesterday, and it’s more of an example to me or the rest of us to keep it together. I was listening to her song “I Look to You.” It’s prophetic. Maybe I’m speaking out of line. Maybe she thought she could have one. And then the next thing you know, her body was betraying her. She didn’t know that her body was aging quickly. She couldn’t take it. Your body can only take so much. Some people survive [Hollywood and fame], and some people don’t.
How do you think Obama fits in now?
Well, the story’s not told yet. He’s in the beginning of the third quarter. I don’t know what his legacy is yet. He’s the first—that’s a part of it. Like Jackie Robinson. But it just wasn’t the first game; it was lasting the whole thing.
Would you ever go into politics?
No. I’m an independent. In some ways I’m liberal, and other ways I’m conservative. We get so locked in on “you have to be this or that.” It’s ridiculous. I’m not a liberal or a conservative completely. Who is? Or why do you have to be? You assess the pros, the cons, of both sides and you make an intelligent decision.
How did you feel about Obama endorsing same-sex marriage?
What did he say about it?
He said he was in favor of it. That he didn’t oppose it.
What does that mean? [laughs]
It’s the political way of saying, “I support it.”
You know, I think people have the right to believe what they want to believe. And people have the right to disagree with it.
Your father was a Pentecostal preacher.
Yes. I went every Sunday as a kid, so I can relate to the people who don’t like it because there was a time when it was a job. We all go through our rebellion.
I read somewhere that you said you once felt yourself being filled with the Holy Spirit.
That was thirty years ago, at the church I still attend. The minister was preaching, “Just let it go.” I said, “I’m going to go with it.” And I had this tremendous physical and spiritual experience. It did frighten me. I was slobbering, crying, sweating. My cheeks blew up. I was purging. It was too intense. It almost drove me away. I called my mother, and she said I was being filled with the Holy Spirit. I was like, “Does that mean I can never have wine again?”
Take responsibility. One of the things that saddens me the most about my people is fathers that don’t take care of their sons and daughters. And you can’t blame that on The Man or getting frisked. Take responsibility. Look in the mirror and say, “What can I do better?” There is opportunity; you can make it. Whatever it is that you choose, be the best at it. You have an African-American president. You can do it. But take responsibility. Put your slippers way under your bed so when you get up in the morning, you have to get on your knees to find them. And while you’re down there, start your day with prayer. Ask for wisdom. Ask for understanding. I’m not telling you what religion to be, but work on your spirit. You know, mind, body, and spirit. Imagine—work the brain muscle. Keep the body in tune—it’s your temple. All things in moderation. Continue to search. That’s the best part of life for me—continue to try to be the best man.