What’s Denzel Washington been up to lately?

denzel washington

One of the greatest actors of our time, in fact, “the greatest actor of the 21st century,” as crowned by The New York Times, Denzel Washington has had a career that’s spanned the course of several decades now. His name’s always been a big box office draw for as long as we can remember, even though he generally doesn’t act as frequently in as many movies as some other big names out there.  

But has the two-time Oscar winner been laying low? Did he go off of the grid? Or has he been working for a while on something special, that we as an audience have yet to see? He’s actually been steadily working throughout the years both in front of and behind the camera not just as an actor, but also in producing roles, directing, and even had some great performances in recent stage plays.

Denzel’s been hard at work

Some of you might remember that he recently was the lead in Apple TV’s take on a Shakespeare classic, The Tragedy of Macbeth. It was a black-and-white masterpiece that easily impressed audiences, despite it not being the first time Washington had a role in a Shakespeare piece – see 1993’s Much Ado About Nothing.

His portrayal as Macbeth in the 2021 film earned Washington numerous award nominations including the award for best actor at this past season’s Academy Awards. But hardly anyone remembers that because of something that happened that same night where some guy “nicely requested” that a second guy keep his wife’s name out of said second guy’s mouth.

To his credit though, Denzel was present that night to make sure everything continued to go smoothly despite not getting his third-career Oscar award.

Denzel’s latest projects as a motion picture actor

Many entertainers had taken somewhat of a hiatus over the last couple of years, mainly because of the Coronavirus pandemic’s effect on the motion picture, stage, and television industries. And while Denzel’s known to work at his own steady pace, even his output over recent years was likely reflective of what Hollywood and Broadway as a whole were also crawling through.

Washington had done another well-received movie that was released in 2021, a thriller for HBO Max called The Little Things, co-starring fellow Oscar winners Rami Malek and Jared Leto. The project was actually done in 2019 before COVID-19 hit, so the gap of time between wrapping production and its release makes sense here. It garnered mixed reviews from critics but did feature a worthy performance from Leto, who earned Golden Globe and Screen Actors Guild Award nominations, both for Best Supporting Actor.

As far as acting was concerned, the most recent movie Denzel had starred in prior to those two films was The Equalizer 2 in 2018, for which he was also a co-producer. Before that, he starred in the 2017 legal drama Roman J. Israel, Esq., a movie that didn’t get a lot of general praise but seemed to quietly earn Washington Oscar, SAG, and Golden Globe Best Actor nods, among several other nominations.

Will he act again anytime soon? Well, according to IMDB, he’s slated to star in the third Equalizer installment, projected to be released in 2023.

Denzel’s recent roles behind the camera

Strictly behind the camera, Washington served as a co-producer of 2020’s Ma Rainey’s Black Bottom, featuring Oscar winner Viola Davis and the final film performance from the late and legendary Chadwick Boseman. The film earned countless nominations and awards, including the AFI Award for Movie of the Year in 2021.

In 2021, Denzel co-produced and was also in the director’s chair for the emotional drama A Journal for Jordan, starring Michael B. Jordan. For his work behind the camera here, Washington earned an NAACP Image Award nomination for Outstanding Directing in a Motion Picture.

Next up, he’s attached as a co-producer for The Piano Lesson, another film that he’ll help adapt from an August Wilson play, just as he did with 2016’s Fences. The film will star Samuel L. Jackson and Denzel’s son, John David Washington. Currently, there is no projected release date for this film.

And as for Denzel’s time within the world of theater

Washington has been acting professionally on stage for many years, dating back to 1990, when he played the title role in William Shakespeare’s Richard III. In 2005, he also appeared as Brutus in Julius Ceasar and won a 2010 Tony Award for his performance in August Wilson’s Fences. He also appeared in A Raisin in the Sun in 2014 and most recently in a Broadway revival of Eugene O’Neill’s The Iceman Cometh in 2018.

At this point in time though, there doesn’t seem to be any official word that he’ll be joining any theater productions in the near future.