GQ’s Michael Hainey sits down with two-time Oscar winner and box-office giant Denzel Washington to talk about his first jobs, how his father influenced him, and why he won’t question his mojo:
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.