“Hopefully I never have to not say [that I want to invest time in a character] like ‘Oh man, what have I gotten myself into?'” said Denzel Washington to press and industry members on November 19. He was discussing his new film “Roman J. Israel, Esq.,” written and directed by Dan Gilroy. “It’s no mystery — he just wrote a good script. It was someplace I haven’t been before, and I’d seen ‘Nightcrawler,’ and I said yes. We met and talked for about an hour, shook hands. It was a simple as that. It’s easy when it’s good.” Watch Washington discuss the film above.
Washington plays the title character in “Roman J. Israel,” a civil rights attorney and a savant who finds his life upended when his law partner becomes severely ill. Along the way he’s tempted to make choices that go against his long-held beliefs and ethics. But was it a lot of pressure to play such a unique and challenging role? “Well, I played Malcolm X — that was pressure,” Washington explained. “Not to say this wasn’t, but suffice it to say it was a lot of pressure.”
Washington earned a Best Actor Oscar nomination for “Malcolm X” in 1993. That was his third bid overall, and in total he has been nominated eight times, including twice last year for “Fences“: Best Actor and Best Picture. He’s a two-time winner: Best Supporting Actor in 1990 for “Glory” and Best Actor in 2002 for “Training Day.” Another victory would make him the seventh actor to have won three or more Oscars and the first actor of color to accomplish that feat.
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