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Denzel Washington Tells Reddit About The Day His Wife Called Him Malcolm

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Not everyone can do a good Reddit AMA. Some don’t get the format. Some can’t interact well with fans. Some are just boring. But this afternoon, Denzel Washington owned his Reddit AMA. With just over a week to go before his film Fences releases (watch the trailer here), Washington was at his hilarious best.

Here’s highlights.

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What he would be if he wasn’t an actor: 

“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.”

The role he had the hardest time shaking off even after the movie was wrapped up:

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

Which of his characters is closest to his real life self:

“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.”

Favorite line or quote that he has said in a movie:

“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.”

The possibility of working with Quentin Tarantino:

“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.”

A movie suggestion for someone who has never watched his work:

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

How he psyched himself up for the “King Kong ain’t got shit on me” scene in Training Day, and how much of it was ad lib:

“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.”

A sequel for Equalizer:

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

Whether he prefers to play the hero or the villain:

“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.”

Something his mother said that has stayed with him forever :

“My mother said, “Keep it simple.”

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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.”

The transition from playing Fences on stage to playing it in front of the camera:

“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.”

What useless skills does he possess:

“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?”

His favorite song to hype himself 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.”

How feeling nervous can be good:

“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.”

Favorite directors he has worked with:

“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.”

Favorite snack:

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

(Most popular question) The weirdest situation he found himself in by accident:

“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.”

Which led to much fan discussion on whether peeing in your pants was the new definition of cool. Thanks to Denzel.

Read the entire AMA here.

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