As an actor, taking on particular roles could mean the difference between earning praise or criticism from your fan base — anything from critiques over the the actor’s race to the character they’re portraying.
Veteran actor Denzel Washington recently opened up about playing a cop in his newest film, “The Little Things,” during a period where tensions between law enforcement and Black and Brown communities have reached an all-time high.
During an interview with Yahoo Entertainment, the “Training Day” star revealed that he had the “utmost respect for what they do, for what our soldiers do, [people] that sacrifice their lives.” He added, “I just don’t care for people who put those kind of people down. If it weren’t for them, we would not have the freedom to complain about what they do.”
Washington has played a number of figures on both sides of the service spectrum, from cops to crooked cops to military servicemen to a human rights activist, but the 66-year-old developed a respect for law enforcement as he rode along with an Los Angeles Police Department officer before taking on his role as cop-hailed hero Nick Styles in the 1991 action thriller “Ricochet.”
“I went out on call with a sergeant,” Washington explained. “We got a call of a man outside his house with a rifle that was distraught. We pulled up and did a U-turn past the house and came up short of the house. He told me to sit in the car, which I was gonna do. I wasn’t getting out. He got out. As he got out, another car came screaming up, and two young people jumped out screaming. As it turned out, it was their grandfather. This policeman defused the entire situation by just remaining calm.”
He continued, “But it showed me in an instant how they can lose their life.” Washington noted and praised the police for not overreacting. He added, “He could’ve pulled his gun out and shot the people that came up driving real fast. He could’ve shot the old man that was distraught and a bit confused, I think he was suffering a little bit from dementia. But in an instant, it taught me, and I never forgot it, what our law enforcement people have to deal with moment to moment, second to second.”
Washington revealed that his next project would take him behind the lens as he is set to direct a movie titled “Journal for Jordan,” which follows a soldier played by Michael B. Jordan, who “makes the ultimate sacrifice.”