[WATCH] Stephen McKinley Henderson (‘Fences’) on ‘liberating and freeing’ stage-to-screen adaptation

“It was liberating and freeing,” divulges Stephen McKinley Henderson as we chat via webcam (watch above) about his work on “Fences.” “On stage, you have to have so many concerns about that third eye, where you are in relation to the audience, and that you can be heard to the back row,” but on camera, “you don’t have to raise the optics of the actual location.”

Denzel Washington directs this Paramount Pictures release and stars as Troy, an African American father struggling against race relations in 1950s Pittsburgh while trying to raise his family and come to terms with events in his life. Washington and Viola Davis reprised their Tony-winning roles in this big screen adaptation of August Wilson‘s Pulitzer Prize-winning play.

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Henderson starred alongside Washington and Davis in the 2010 Broadway revival, snagging a Tony nomination for Featured Actor in a Play. In fact, he has starred in eight of Wilson’s 10-show series known as “The Pittsburgh Cycle.” Even with his experience, the actor concedes to having, “a growing understanding, because it’s like all great literature. You keep on learning from it, you keep on finding things the poet has given you that help you understand the themes and the topics and the things discussed.”

Related: Watch our interview with Jovan Adepo (‘Fences’)

“Fences” recently scored a SAG Ensemble nomination and bids for Washington and Davis. “It was absolutely wonderful,” beams Henderson. “The ensemble award is for everyone, and it takes everyone to help you do that. So it’s for the actors, but also you feel like everybody involved in the project is included in that.” Will the Oscars be next?

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Be sure to make your Oscar predictions. How do you think “Fences” will do with academy voters? Weigh in now with your picks so that Hollywood insiders can see how this film is faring in our Oscar odds. You can keep changing your predictions right up until just before nominations are announced on January 24 at 5:00 am PT/8:00 am ET. Be sure to read our contest rules. And join in the fierce debate over the Oscars taking place right now with Hollywood insiders in our forums.

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