Acting powerhouse and residential cool cat Denzel Washington sat down with the people at Reddit to do an Ask Me Anything last week in promotion of his latest film “The Equalizer.” Here are 20 of the coolest, interesting, and just plain weird Q&As from the session.
Q: A lot of the marketing for The Equalizer has focused around the new Eminem song, “Guts Over Fear.” Are you an Eminem fan yourself and if so, what is your favorite song of his?
Denzel: Eminem, yes, and I like Nas, and Jay-Z. Eminem and NAS are real wordsmiths. So yes, I’m DEFINITELY an Eminem fan. Where’s he been? Where you been Eminem?
Q: What are some hobbies of yours that people might not expect?
Denzel: Well, I think I talk about boxing, I like to box. I don’t have a lot of hobbies… My sports days are over, but I still box. And I’ve been fortunate to live through my kids through athletics, I had a son who played in the NFL, he’s an actor now, he’s starring in a new series for HBO called “Ballers” about football players. He co-stars with The Rock! So Look for him on HBO! I can hear him now, Dad, don’t say that… but I’m a proud poppa, of all my children.
Q: How the hell do you still look half your age?
Denzel: Good genes. My mother is… maybe I shouldn’t say her age. I come from a good gene pool. When I was young-young, it took a long time for me to be able to get into clubs, and my oldest daughter, she’s mid-twenties now, she looks twelve or thirteen, so I think it’s just genetics. And exercise, and eating right, but you know – Father Time is undefeated.
Q: What can I do, Denzel, to get a perfect smile as yours?
Denzel: It comes from the inside. Think good thoughts, be positive. I’ll send you the number of my dentist…but think good thoughts. It starts in your heart.
Q: How did the recent passing of Rubin “Hurricane” Carter affect you? Loved your portrayal of him in The Hurricane.
Denzel: Rubin was a great friend, and his partner (who helped him in the last years of his life, as I did, as well) brought me a great gift. I was doing a play on Broadway, and he brought me Rubin’s midway championship belt that he won in 1963. So that’s a prized possession of mine that I have in my house. He was a dear, dear person.
Q: Would you be interested in being the next James Bond?
Denzel: The next James Bond? They better hurry up! Yes I would! Who’s doing James Bond now..Daniel Craig! Did they shoot another one? Everybody should tweet Denzel is James Bond! Send it to the studio! We start the Denzel is Bond campaign today!
Q: Dog or cat man?
Denzel: Dogs. Dogs. Cats, man, they’re too independent. They piss me off. they play when they want, and then they turn their back on you. Dogs, you throw the ball, and they bring it back, tongue hanging out, tail wagging. Cats are like “Not right now, too busy.” Definitely a dog man.
Except when it comes to cleaning up after them! Cats win that!
Q: Hey Mr. Denzel! I’m a big fan of your movie “The Book of Eli”, and I’m curious. How long did it take to learn the choreography for the fight scenes? And how difficult is it to actually perform those moves? I imagine there’d be a couple of takes!
Denzel: There were a lot of takes. We worked on those fight scenes for a month. They were well-choreographed, and in fact, there’s one scene where i think I fight 15 different guys at once – we actually worked it so I could fight 15 guys at one time! I did ninety percent, I don’t know what percent, my own stunts, the stuntmen didn’t have to do as much, but that was mostly me.
Q: What is one fact about you that would surprise most people? What was it like being People’s Sexiest Man Alive? Did it suck when you had to hand over the crown to Clooney?
Denzel: Hmmm. I don’t know? Trying to think of something… I do love classical music. Hopefully that wouldn’t surprise people! I’m a closet comedian. Hahaha! I have a quick wit, I don’t know if I could do jokes, but i’m a wise guy (not in the Italian sense).
Embarrassing. I mean, come on… alive? Embarrassing. I was like, come on now. And then when they pick the next person, are you like, second now? Is it just one year, and then you’re what – it’s like a Used Car, used Sexiest Man Alive dealership? The Almost Sexiest Man alive dealership? Who’s the sexiest man now, Adam Levine? He sits next to me at the Laker Games. He’s on the Voice? Who’s this year’s? It’s November when they announce it… Can’t you be the sexiest man for 2 years running? ALIVE… that’s a mouthful… sexiest man alive. I didn’t give the title to Clooney, they take it from you! I’m NEVER going to relinquish the title. I’m STILL the Sexiest Man Alive.
Make sure you write: I’m joking.
Q: Do you sing? It seems like you should sing. Try “Tiiiiiiiime is on my siiiide. Yes it is!”
Denzel: One has to recognize one’s limitations.
In my mind, I’m a great singer. For about 3 seconds.
Q: Have you ever been approached to do an action film alongside Liam Neeson? I feel like that would be awesome to watch.
Denzel: Actually, that could be interesting.
I won’t say yes but that could happen one day.
Q: Your performance in Remember The Titans continues to inspire and motivate me to this day, Denzel. What inspires and motivates you in life?
Denzel: Well, that film was really fun for me, because I’ve been a coach most of my life. I grew up in the Boys & Girls club, and I started coaching when I was as young as 12 – the coach quit, so they made me the coach at 12, and the kids were like 10, but I guess i had that ability… I really get a lot of pleasure out of seeing people do well. So that role, for me, was a lot of fun- although he was a tough guy. But I was living out one of my coaching fantasies, I guess! We all think, when we watch TV, that we could do a better job than whoever’s on TV…
Q: Training Day has always been my favorite movie of all time. What’s your ideal breakfast?
Denzel: oOh-wee. I like a good omelet. When I feel like being a slob, I love french toast. But I like a great omelet. And I like a simple breakfast, a little diner, with bacon and eggs and hash browns, some real good greasy funky hash browns, a little OJ, a cup of coffee, I’m good.
Q: Denzel, I am about to get married. What is the best advice you have for marriage?
Denzel: Oh – if you’re a guy – two phrases. One is “yes, dear” and the other is “honey, you’re right.” Be patient. Be good friends first. And stick together. You gotta work at it. I’ve been married 31 years. It’s not all a honeymoon, it’s not all flowers and roses, but if you’re friends and partners and committed, you’ll be okay. And everybody’s got advice for you – don’t listen.
Q: Do you get to keep souvenirs from the movies you make? Can you tell us something you keep?
Denzel: I kept some swords from Book of Eli, sometimes I keep the costumes – I kept my glasses and hat from MALCOLM X. I did a play on Broadway called Fences, where i played an old baseball player, and i kept the bat. Trying to think of what else I got… those are things I can think off the top of my head. I have the tailor-made suits I wore in Training Day, I have those and the leather jacket. I go home with something.
Q: Who’s your favorite superhero?
Denzel: That’s a tough one. You know, I hate to take a look out the window and think I could jump out like Superman, like Clark… hmmm, I always dug Thor in the comic books. Somewhere between Superman and Thor.
But you know who I really dug? When I was on vacation a few years back, and I sat, and I said I’m going to watch The Incredibles. MAN that is one of my favorite movies of all time now!
Did you ever see INCREDIBLES? I love that movie!
Q: Whats your favorite ice cream flavor?
Denzel: Oooh! Cherry Vanilla! If I had to pick 3: Cherry Vanilla is first. But then either Chocolate or Butter Pecan, Haagen-Daaz, or Mister Softee for those in New York, small cone. ORIGINAL Mister Softee, not the fake-out trucks! Mister Soft! Master Softee! They got ’em in New York! no, the original Mister Softee. Gotta be very specific.
Q: Denzel, you once said that you “Don’t want movie-star friends”, why is this?
Denzel: I’m glad you asked that. I’m not sure I said that. I said “I don’t have” – what I was talking about when I said that is that my closest friends aren’t movie star friends, not that i don’t WANT movie star friends. And it depends on your definition of the word “Friend.” My close friends are old friends, and none of them happen to be actors. I didn’t mean that to say that I wouldn’t befriend someone because they were an actor. I just, you know, my close friends are old friends. And it also depends on the word friends, and close friends. I have about 2, 3, 4 close friends. And a couple of them I’ve known since before I was an actor. I guess it sounded like a catchy thing to what the person wanted to say, and also most movie stars or successful actors are busy, so someone’s off shooting something else while I’m shooting somewhere else… but it’s never been my nature to make fast friends that I could truly call my friends.
Now a very, very good friend of mine is a musician. Lenny Kravitz. Wait, he just did an AMA? That’s CRAZY. Did you mention to him that you were talking to me? That is crazy. So I got a superstar friend! Not a movie star friend but a rockstar! But it just so happens that none of my close friends are movie stars, for whatever reason, not because I didn’t want them to be. If it was someone I knew from a long time ago, and they became a movie star, I wouldn’t say that I wouldn’t want them to be my friend anymore just because they became a movie star.
Q: Mr. Washington – I am a huge, HUGE fan of your work. I’d venture to say I’m your #1 fan, and I am willing to fight for the title if necessary…
Why is it you can’t seem to many ANY bad movies? Is there any movie you look back on and have regrets about?
Alternatively, if you could redo one of your movies as a different character in that same film, what movie would it be and who would you play? I would love to see the roles reversed between you and Clive Owen in Inside Man!
Denzel: Yes, but I would never say! Because that wouldn’t be fair to the people that made the movie. And then there are films that I don’t like, and then someone will come up to me and say it’s their favorite movie. The movies belong to the people. You make them and you put them out there. For me, I love the process of making films. For me, my favorite film is always my next one.
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