Nobody is going to argue against the fact that Denzel Washington is one of the greatest actors to have ever lived, as he effortlessly straddles the divide between acclaimed character actor capable of delivering awards-baiting performances on a regular basis and using his box office drawing power to headline a series of action thrillers that involve plenty of running and gunning.
Two Academy Awards from nine nominations and three Golden Globes from ten nods only confirms that fact, but even someone of Washington’s standing still seeks advice when they’ve got questions to ask. Of course, when you’re an A-list megastar, you get the opportunity to pose your questions to the very top, with Washington revealing the advice that Steven Spielberg gave him when the 66 year-old first decided to step behind the camera.
“Steven told me years ago, when I was nervous about making movies, ‘Everybody steals, Denzel, but make sure to steal from the best’. I’ve been re-watching Coppola’s Godfather movies and stealing shots from them. And I’ll be stealing from Spielberg as well.”
If Spielberg tells you to steal from the best, then you should do what the man says. After all, he’s only the most commercially successful director in the history of cinema. Since making his feature debut on 2002’s Antwone Fisher, Washington has only gone on to helm one further film, but Fences did manage to win Octavia Spencer an Oscar, while the movie itself was also shortlisted for Best Picture, Best Adapted Screenplay and Best Actor.
He also randomly called the shots on a single episode of Grey’s Anatomy back in 2016, while he’s currently in the midst of production on Journal for Jordan, which he’s directing and producing with Michael B. Jordan in the lead. And having worked with many of the biggest names in the business, you can guarantee that Denzel Washington has picked up more than a few tricks of the trade from the masters.