A Conversation With Denzel Washington

Denzel was interviewed by Carl Franklin (director of Devil in a Blue Dress).

A native of Mount Vernon, New York and graduate of Fordham University, Denzel Washington began his illustrious career on the New York City stage with The Negro Ensemble Company. It was his award-winning performance in A Soldier’s Play that led to his big break as Dr. Phillip Chandler in the hit hospital drama St. Elsewhere. What followed was a string of films portraying notable characters the first of which gave him his first Oscar for the role of Trip in the Civil War drama Glory. Standout roles include South African freedom fighter Steven Biko in Cry Freedom, an inspiring coach in Remember the Titans, a wrongly accused boxer in Hurricane, and his phenomenal embodiment of Malcolm X directed by Spike Lee, which garnered him his second Oscar nomination. In 2001, he received the Oscar for his portrayal of an above the law LAPD veteran in Training Day.

In 2002, he stepped into the director’s chair with the triumphant story of Antwone Fisher, which he followed up in 2007 with the incredible true story, The Great Debaters. As a documentary producer, Washington brought audiences the emmy-nominated Half Past Autumn: The Life and Works of Gordon Parks and Hank Aaron: Chasing the Dream. Denzel has returned to the New York City stage throughout his career the highlight of which garnered him his first Tony Award for August Wilson’s Fences.

Other career highlights include American Gangster, Man on Fire, and his three collaborations with Spike Lee, Mo Betta Blues, He Got Game, and Inside Man. He has collaborated with director Carl Franklin on two occasions. In the Walter Moseley adaptation mysteryDevil In A Blue Dress (1995) and in the thriller Out of Time (2003). In 2014, he was nominated for an Oscar, Golden Globe, and SAG award for his portrayal of a drug-addicted pilot in Flight. Last summer he enthralled audiences in the blockbuster thriller The Equalizer..