Hi Reddit, this is Denzel Washington and I’m here to answer your questions. See my latest film, Fences, in theaters on Christmas Day. You can watch the trailer here.

Proof: https://twitter.com/FencesMovie/status/809156035545997312

More proof: https://i.redd.it/9zjtk5anst3y.jpg

Comments: 9360 • Responses: 23  • Date: 

phyzikalgamer4261 karma

Hi, just wanted to say you are one of my all time favourite actors. A living legend.

My question for you is: What role if any did you have a hard time shaking off once the movie was wrapped up?


_DenzelWashington7266 karma

Malcolm X. My wife would be like “Is Malcolm coming home tonight?”

MrTravesty3496 karma

What is your favorite line or quote that you have said in a movie?

_DenzelWashington6367 karma

What came right through my head was “King Kong”, but that’s not necessarily my favorite line, that’s the line that I hear the most from other people.

I don’t have one. Some people walk up, “my man” from American Gangster, but I don’t have one that I walk around and repeat because I’m onto the next one, so I’m not thinking about it that much.

Nova_Jake3488 karma

What do you think of Quentin Tarantino? Would you ever consider starring in one of his movies?

_DenzelWashington6804 karma

He's a great film maker. My daughter actually worked for him on Django. He really wanted her to come back and continue to work with him. She said "Dad, he doesn't sleep!"

Yea, if he asked me, sure. Depends upon what it's about, gotta see what's on the page.

You know, going back to that, he did rewrites on Crimson Tide. He obviously didn't direct but he was one of the writers on the movie.

Squttnbear3116 karma

What is the weirdest situation you've found yourself in by accident?

_DenzelWashington11482 karma

In life? Probably had something to do with not being able to find a bathroom in time. We’ve all been there, you know what I’m talking about. Haha, oh man, and it’s cold outside and that warmth starts…you know what I’m talking about.

ningrim2480 karma

For someone who has never seen your work, what would you suggest they watch first?

_DenzelWashington6690 karma

I would suggest that they watch two. Fences and Man on Fire.

PortlandPetey2401 karma

Which one of your characters do you think you are actually the most like in real life?

_DenzelWashington5590 karma

That would be a good question for my wife. I don’t know. I don’t think any of them, not completely. There’s a piece of me in all of them and all of them in me, but I can’t say this one is really like me. Training Day was close. No, that’s the old me. The younger me.

houseofvape2104 karma

Denzel, I am a big fan of yours. My question is how did you psych yourself up for the "King Kong ain't got shit on me" scene in Training Day, and how much of it was ad lib?

Thank you sir!!

_DenzelWashington3248 karma

That was an ad lib line, and I was developing and ad-libbing the scene as we went along, so we actually shot everybody else as I was working it out, and his whole thing was his ego, and I was getting real stuff from the real gangsters like shoe program and what that meant and all that stuff from the bloods, and from one take I just went off, and Antoine is like, “man, you know what you just said,” I said, “yeah”, and he said he wanted me to do it again. But purely it was his ego, Alonzo’s ego. If you look at the end of the movie again he’s getting out of the car and pointing with his key cause he’s trying to get out of the trunk where his guns are cause he’s still until the end not giving up, what did he say? I’m gonna win anyway.

CrotasMinion1758 karma

Any plans for an Equalizer sequel??? Absolutely loved it!!!

_DenzelWashington3520 karma

We are working on the script. It will probably come out on the Fall of 2018, if we stay on schedule.

Bacon_Jam1490 karma

If you didn't have a career in acting what do you think you'd be doing for a living?

_DenzelWashington3541 karma

Probably working with children. That’s all I did before, I was a counselor for the Boys and Girls Club and the YMCA. So that was most of the kind of work I was doing from age 13 up until I became an actor.

brainpain22969 karma

Do you prefer playing the villain or the hero?

_DenzelWashington1929 karma

I like mixing it up. I don’t have a preference. I don’t want to. More heroes earlier on my career, and then when I did Training Day all I got offered was villains, I guess they didn’t know I had it in my, but I don’t have a preference. Good scripts.

kasberg786 karma

How did you start your career as an actor and was it the cliché struggle that everyone always talk about? Thanks.

_DenzelWashington1484 karma

Interestingly enough I’m in San Francisco where my career sort of began. I studied for two years in NY, I went to Fordham, two years in the Bronx and then down to Lincoln Center and I knew that I didn’t have enough training yet, so I got into the American Conservatory Theatre here in San Francisco and I studied here, started on my masters here.

RIPbodie750 karma

Hi Denzel, I'm a huge fan of yours, and I'm also a student at your alma mater, Fordham. Was just wondering what your time was like here, if you have any cool Fordham stories, and when the next time you plan on visiting is?

_DenzelWashington2741 karma

I went for two years up at Rose Hill trying to figure out what to do in life, started off pre med, then I said I’ll become a lawyer, then I said I would become a journalist, but really all I was doing was flunking out, and then I ended up working up in Lakeville, CT at a YMCA camp and I did a little skit for some kids and someone mentioned, you ever thought about acting? So I went back to Fordham, I transferred to the Lincoln Center campus and I started taking an acting class, and that’s how it started. So even with my own kids, I said a liberal arts education is ok. You don’t have to know at 18 what you’re gonna do for the rest of your life and you know how it is in college you gotta declare something, well I’m not a doctor, but I played one. hahahaha.

levinctio614 karma

I have two questions.

What is your most "useless" skill?


What is your favorite song that you listen to to hype you up?

_DenzelWashington1302 karma

Useless skill:

My most useless skill is making coffee. No, that’s useful. A useless skill, meaning a skill that has no use. How do you develop it if it’s useless? I don’t know. I’m trying to be useful. Useless? A useless skill?

favorite song to hype yourself up:

Depends upon what I’m doing. I saw Ludacris the other day in Atlanta. In different movies I’ll get into a particular artist. I’ve used Mary J Blige when I was doing a darker movie Courage in the Fire, and some of her music just helped me with that. When I did Magnificent 7 I used War because they have some kind of cowboy stuff, “Southern part of Texas” was one and “Gypsy Man” was a couple of songs, bands from the 80s, 70s. It depends I gotta find that vibe and it gives me a certain feeling that I like. Training Day ugh, whatever I wanted to. It was just filthy.

iamleighanne563 karma

Having done Fences on stage as a play and now as a film what do you think is the most difficult part to transition and is there anything you feel was lost/gained because of the change from stage to screen?

_DenzelWashington710 karma

One of the challenges were the transitions. In a play it's lights out, the curtain comes. You can't do that but it opened up other opportunities to stay with the character that were left on stage in the play. It was a process. It was a slow process. Was anything lost or gained? Yea, probably! That's just the nature of it. You might lose a little, it’s a motion picture now. Some of the story is just told in what you see. You won't have to say it all.

HippyWarVeteran559 karma

What is something someone in your life has said, that you've kept with you- and has made a positive impact on your life?

_DenzelWashington1879 karma

My mother said, "Keep it simple." It took me a long time, wading through a lot of stuff, to realize how much of it you don't need. I don't even mean material, professionally, I've said this before, Sidney Poitier told me, "if they see you for free all week, they won't pay to see you on the weekend." So don't be everywhere for everybody. This is an age when we think the more you're seen, the better. In the movie business, that's not the case. Prime example, when is the last time you've seen Daniel Day Lewis? Right? Lincoln. Last movie did 3-400 million. That's the movie game. You want people to say, "where is he?" Like you just said, "When's Equalizer?" Those are two good things. Keep it simple.

douglasmacarthur469 karma

Who's your favorite director that you've worked under?

_DenzelWashington819 karma

I've learned so much from so many of them, I wouldn't pick one. I mean I love Tony Scott, God rest his soul. I've had great success with Spike and Ed Swick. Obviously great success with Antoine Fuqua, those are the ones that I just mentioned. I love and miss Tony. One of the best filmmakers is really...I'm going to say everybody and all the ones I leave out are going to be pissed but...c’est la vie. That's a good group right there. I'm sure I left out somebody.

infinitypool291397 karma

Mr. Washington, Thank you for taking the time to do an AMA, looking forward to seeing your performance in Fences. I was wondering what is the best way of getting nerves to work for you rather than against you in a performance?

_DenzelWashington1300 karma

Sometimes nerves are good for you. I still get nervous, it’s ok, that means you’re alive. The only thing to fear is fear itself, so that’s a part of it. Being fearful is a part of it, but keep going. There was a saying fall down seven times, get up eight, so just keep going. We all have fear. Believe me I have as much as anybody else and we all have to face them. Face your fears.

alimighty1371 karma

What is your favorite food to snack on?

_DenzelWashington1222 karma

For real? Häagen-Dazs Ice cream. Cherry Vanilla, number 1, Chocolate, number 2, and Butter Pecan, number 3.

mzdoja287 karma

Hey Denzel!

Longtime fan here and I’m looking forward to Fences.

First off, thank you for everything you do to support the Boys and Girls Clubs of America. Growing up, I went there every day after school, and I’ve got to think that doing that helped shaped me into a better person. So thanks!

I do have a question though: How are you feeling about the Cowboys going into the playoffs this year? If it was your decision, would you start Romo or Prescott?

_DenzelWashington708 karma

That's what you call Champagne Problems. You know Romo is ready to go, I'm sure he's looked at all the footage from Peyton Manning last year, it's his turn. I think you stick with the horse right now and allow Tony to continue to heal. He'll be ready, he is ready, and right now he's an asset. He's the best thing for him right now, to work with him and he seems to be very unselfish about it. I like what the owner is saying, he says, "I'll know it when I see it”

Call me Jerry.

fthecorsage256 karma

Do you still play basketball regularly? and who is the most famous person you have played with?

_DenzelWashington722 karma

I don’t play ball anymore, those days are over, and I grew up in a town called Mount Vernon NY, and as you know coming from Brooklyn we had some good ball players, like the Williams brothers, Gus won a championship with Seattle, his brother Ray was a point guard for the Knicks. The most famous person…well I’ve hung up my knees so my ball days are over, so I didn’t get a chance to play with the president, that would be interesting. Cause he kept saying he was gonna serve me, and the NY ego was like hey you better check with us down here, check with the knees.

I don’t know who is super big. When I first got to LA, the hollywood high school they would have different celebrities, but a lot of the biggest named guys didn’t play, they just talked a lot. Arsenio played, but not a big big star. Who is the best movie star player? I rest my case. My days are over. In my time it was me, hahaha.

vxx2226 karma

Which place on Earth would you like to visit that you haven't been to?

_DenzelWashington462 karma

Hmm. I was just watching something on Istanbul that looked interesting. I’ve been lucky to go so many places, hmmm. I don’t know. Any suggestions?

Arithered193 karma

Hi Denzel!

  1. What were your toughest challenges when coming up in the acting world? Did you ever feel typecast, especially after TRAINING DAY?

  2. What do you think of Jay Pharaoh's impression of you?

  3. Ummmmm, do you like mozzarella sticks?

_DenzelWashington372 karma

Yes I felt typecast sometimes, and for any actor rejection. I was always at my best in auditions when I already had a job. I used to call it a smell. You walk in with a smell cause you’re too hungry, you’re thirsty, and they can smell it, but when you’re working you’re like hey I got 15 minutes I gotta go do that.

I think Pharoah’s impression is more like the, I don’t know it was an impression of an impression.

drone2222135 karma

Quick question: What sort of acting role would you like to tackle that you haven't tried yet? Thanks!

_DenzelWashington440 karma

Hmm. You don’t wanna see me in tights.