Denzel Washington did an interview with the latest issue of Elle Magazine and let's just say it looked like someone was a little grumpy! He probably just wanted some apple sauce...
Anyway, the good folks over at ONTD! were kind enough to post the interview:
Denzel recently gave an interview for the january issue of elle magazine and he was a complete dick! i don't have the scans but i found the transcript on his imdb boards. i highlighted the parts where he was being really rude, and there was alot, so you might as well read the whole interview cuz he was a dick throughout... it's really disheartening to read since i think everyone thinks he's like the kindest, down to earth person out there...
ELLE: Did you really drive yourself?
Denzel: That's what I usually do. You get in the car, you start it up, you drive around, you know? As opposed to what? Being driven by someone?
He's glaring now. Denzel, as we discover fairly quickly, doesn't much want to be here. That's obvious from the get-go. The most innocuous questions are met with a cold stare. The Denzel Glare. It's very cool in the movies. Not so fun in person.
In fact, there comes a point in the course of an hour-long interview with Denzel Washington when, no matter how much you love the guy's movies, no matter how much your friends and doormen love him, no matter how much you even love his publicist (and okay, no matter how much, as a celebrity interviews go, you're kinda psyched about this one, because he is, after all, Denzel Fucking Washington!), you just have to ask: Is he always impossible, or does he just hate doing interviews? Even by mega-celebrity standards, this guy is tough. And he seems to actually like being difficult. Maybe he just hates the interviewer. Or maybe Denzel is having a bad day. But, in the interest of civility, we'll wait for the appropiate moment to ask.
Is it after we make the mistake of telling him how much we loved his new movie, THE GREAT DEBATORS, which he directed and stars in, so much that we "cried all the way through it" (yes, we said that, in all sincerity), and he replies, "All the way through it? As soon as it started?"
Or is it when we ask about his positive image, how people say he is a true Hollywood abberation, doesn't make an ass of himself or go in and out of rehab, married to the same woman for 23 years, devoted to his four kids, a man of faith, a decent guy, a gentleman, respected and admired? And he replies:"I don't know what that means, a Hollywood aberr-A-ation...what people are you talking about? People who? The people in Iowa? I don't know Hollywood. Hollywood is a part of town that we're in right now. There's no like, Hollywood meetings where everybody gets together and decides who's out of line, you know."
Or is it when we ask whether the role of preacher-father that he directed in DEBATORS, played by Forest Whitaker, was informed by his own preacher dad, and he replies, "It's just a movie"?
Here's the thing. We love Denzel Washington. The man's movies are brilliant. From the ones he won best actor and best supporting actor Oscars for (TRAINING DAY, and GLORY) to the ones he should have won for (THE HURRICANE, MALCOLM X) to all those other Washington classics (THE PELICAN BRIEF, PHILADELPHIA, CRY FREEDOM, INSIDE MAN, THE PREACHER'S WIFE, THE BONE COLLECTOR). And it's not just the great roles, it's the intensity, the passion, the way he makes you believe. Not to mention, he's incredibly hot on-screen. His colleagues wept when he became the second black man (the first was Sidney Poitier in 1964) to take home the best actor statuette. And there is the poingnant backstory: the guy who was saved by the BOYS & GIRLS CLUB OF AMERICA and made it from Mount Vernon, New York, to Hollywood royalty (a story he used to like to tell). Then there is his good, clean image. He and his wife, Pauletta, even recorded a passage on a set of Bible CD's last year.
A few days before we met in Los Angeles, we see Washington on his publicity tour for AMERICAN GANGSTER in New York. During one lunchtime event, a busload of kids from the BOYS & GIRLS CLUBS come to a panel discussion that features their national spokesperson plus fellow BGCA alum Cuba Gooding Jr., among others. An 11-year-old girl - decked out in white stockings, black patent leather shoes, and a red purse on her lap, her hair all done up - can barely contain her excitment that she might get to ask her hero, Denzel Washington, a question. Washington talks about how the club saved his life, taught him right from wrong, taught him to dream big - but then cuts out before the Q&A session begins, while Gooding and the rest of the panel stay. The moderator explains that he has to get ready for the big premiere that night up in Harlem. The little girl's face falls, but she understands. "He's very famous now."
The next day, part of his duties to hype the movie includes answering questions with his costar Russell Crowe in a room packed with journalists flown in from around the country. Washington conducts this session with a "when is it over?" look on his face. And really, you can't blame him. It has to be a drag to be as big as Denzel Washington and have to suffer through another press junket. But you know things are bad when Russell Crowe is the cuddly one. At one point, Washington answers an interesting question - Why is it that when rappers depict the 'hood in all it's rawness they get criticized, and when actors do it, as in AMERICAN GANGSTER, they are glorified? - by replying that he's done Shakespeare. "And whenever any rapper is ready to do some Shakespeare, I'll be there," he says. Crowe tries to point out that, actually, it is a good question. But Washington only warms up when someone asks: What inspires him to get up every day and do all this great work? "Now that's a good question," he says. His answer:"Acting to me is making a living. It's not my life."
At the Roosevelt, we mention that he looked like he was in pain that day. "No. I was not 'in pain.' It's not that deep actually. It's just a movie. Not that big a deal."
ELLE: You're probably sick of doing this kind of stuff.
Denzel: Eh, you know, it's called show business.
We bring up his other films, but he's not in the mood to reflect on those, either. He's been doing interviews nonstop for weeks; he's answered it all. But still. We try to engage him on these two recent extraordinary, but very different, roles, both based on real people. In AMERICAN GANGSTER, he plays Frank Lucas, perhaps the most vile drug dealer in American history, a man who smuggled heroin into the States in the caskets of Vietnam soldiers. In THE GREAT DEBATORS, a film he coproduced with Oprah Winfrey, he is Melvin Tolson, the altruistic professor at an all-black Texas college in the '30s who inspired his students to become the best debate team in the country. He says that he didn't want to star in the movie, just direct it. But "it could get more money if I was in it. And it just wasn't going to be enough money if I wasn't in it."
Washington is often called the ultimate Method actor, one who lives and breathes his roles. So we ask if it was hard for him to go from Lucas to Tolson. "Uh, no. Not at all," he says.
Denzel: And really, I had a whole lot of other things on my mind other than just playing Tolson. I was directing.
ELLE: Okay, but these two characters are polar opposites. Good and evil. And yet, you kinda like them both, don't you think?
Denzel: You're saying that...I don't look at it that way.
ELLE: How do you look at it?
Denzel: Well, I don't look at it. I don't analyze their likability or whatever. I don't think of it. I played the part, you know...It's like a movie belongs to the people. You make it, you put it out there. People say, 'What do you expect them to get from it?' I'm like, Well, depends on what they bring to it. So, it's whatever you see and however you feel. And not how I feel.
ELLE: But when you're picking these roles - and you pick whatever you want now - what is it that gets to you?
Denzel: It's not one thing. It's just whatever.
We switch gears. Back in New York, he told the BGCA that "I was one of those kids" who "didn't have a solid family situation.". What did he mean?
Denzel: Well, that's personal business.
ELLE: But you wouldn't be the spokesperson for the club if it didn't have a profound effect on your life, right?
Denzel: You're asking me, or you're just making a statement?
ELLE: Okay, then. When you first started to be superfamous, how did you resist the trappings and temptations of fame?
Denzel: There's trappings and temptations of life. Period. There's some hole to fall in no matter what you do.
ELLE: You believe that?
Denzel: I don't believe it. I know it. Our World is proof of it. Just look around. You know, every person that you see, a homeless person walking the streets, wasn't necessarily a Hollywood person. Somewhere, their life turned. That's life. That's not life in Hollywood, that's life in this world.
ELLE: You're a man of faith, we venture. How much does your belief in God guide you through--
Denzel: It's the core of everything that I do and everything that I am. It's how I start my day and how I finish my day.
ELLE: So what made you want to do THE GREAT DEBATORS?
Denzel: It's just a good story. The little guys against the big guys, and how these kids come together.
It's also an amazing piece of history that has never been told before. Which makes you wonder: Does he feel an obligation to choose projects that are positive for the black community?
Denzel:No, I don't feel an obligation. I do what I'm comfortable with.
ELLE: You're often described as "the greatest black actor of our time." Does the qualifier bother you?
ELLE: That's what they say...
Denzel: You know, you said they. I don't deal in the theys and people....People can say whatever they wanna say. People say stuff all the time, put you in categories all the time. It doesn't have anything to do with what I do.
ELLE: But c'mon. You don't hear Al Pacino described as "the greatest Italian actor" or "the greatest white actor" of our time.
Denzel: I don't know how people describe him.
ELLE: As a great actor.
Denzel: Well, it seems to bother you more than me.?
In any event, THE GREAT DEBATORS is an awesome story, and it's cool that someone told it. Surely, he must have thought at some point, Gee, this is a neat message to put out there.
Denzel: I try not to use the word message.
ELLE: Why not?
Denzel: Just cause. I don't use it. You're saying it! It's just a movie. It's entertainment. I'm not trying to send any message.
Well, this is a bummer. THE GREAT DEBATORS isn't the first Washington movie that did, in fact, have a profound message. Just look at PHILADELPHIA, the 1993 movie that influenced perceptions of people with AIDS. Surely he can't think it's not a good thing.
Denzel: Mn-hmm. Yeah.
So how does he choose his movies?
Denzel: It depends. It might be as simple as where it shoots.
We sort of give up trying to get Washington to talk about the redeeming qualities of his movies and try a different tack. Does he regret anything in his career?
Denzel: I don't have regrets. Things are all right. I'm doing okay. My life is good.
Denzel: Yeah, the decision to cross my legs. I wouldn't get that iced tea. I'd get a Diet Coke. I thought we were gonna talk about the movie. We're talkin' about everything but the movie.
We go back to AMERICAN GANGSTER. Did he know the part of Harlem that Lucas ruled?
Denzel: Yeah, absolutely. I knew that neighborhood very well.
We discuss the horrible effect the Lucas drug operation had on New York at the time. Washington allows that the movie, as directed by Ridley Scott, did a pretty great job of capturing that. So, did he ever do drugs?
Denzel: No, never. Never in my life.
Denzel: Of course. I grew up in the '60s, you kidding me?
ELLE: Okay, so did you ever start to get hooked?
Denzel: I'm not gonna talk about that. I grew up in New York in the '60s. I did what teenagers did in 1968.
ELLE: And how do you think you survived that?
Denzel: The grace of God.
Universal [Studios] girl pops in to say it is time to wrap up. Is there anyting Washington does want to talk about?
Denzel: The movie! You wanna talk about the movie?
ELLE: We keep trying to.
Denzel: You asked me if I did drugs! That doesn't have anything to do with the movie.
ELLE: Well, with all do respect, we think that, given it's a movie about a drug dealer, it's not an unreasonable question.
Denzel: And I answered it.
He did. We can't help, but ask: When he was first starting out, before he was superfamous, surely he didn't mind answering questions about himself.
Denzel: When I first started out, nobody asked.
ELLE: Actually, that's not true.
Denzel: Well, go back.
ELLE: We did.
Denzel: Yeah, did you find me talking about drugs?
ELLE: Well no, actually, but how hard it was for you to get where you are today.
Denzel: All the more reason to have some fresh and new questions. 'Cause that's been talked about. Or not. You can ask me whatever you like.
Right. We're wondering now if there was ever a time he actually enjoyed doing interviews.
Denzel: That's assuming that I don't enjoy it now.
ELLE: Oh please, you hate it.
Denzel: You say I hate it. Hate is a strong word. I wouldn't use that word. And hey, like I said, it's show business. Ain't no big deal. This is just a movie, and we're just talkin' and it's all fine, and you'll sell newspapers and I'll sell movie tickets.
source: elle for the interview, imdb for the transcript
for those saying this interview isn't real, you can go to the elle massage boards here and see people talking about his interview long before this was posted on ontd