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‘There’s Not That Much Left To Do As an Actor’: Denzel Washington on Being More Selective About Future Acting Gigs, Has Eyes on One Role

While social media debates whether Denzel Washington is a better actor than Will Smith, Washington’s focus is on his legacy and career.

At the Dec. 17 premiere of his new film “The Tragedy of Macbeth,” Washington explained to Entertainment Tonight what quality a project needs to have for him to want to be a part of it.
Speaking to ET at the DGA Theater in Los Angeles, he said, “I’m about the challenges. At this point, like the character, I’m in the yellow leaf of my career. To be quite honest, looking to do other things. So as far as acting, it’s gonna have to be an extreme challenge for me to be interested.”

HOLLYWOOD, CALIFORNIA – JUNE 06: Denzel Washington attends the 47th AFI Life Achievement Award honoring Denzel Washington at Dolby Theatre on June 06, 2019 in Hollywood, California. (Photo by Michael Kovac/Getty Images for AFI)

Even with this new requirement for him to get on board with any future projects, Washington, 66, is showing no signs of slowing down his work. “I’ve been talking to one or two of the top directors in the business, and we’re talking about maybe doing something. There’s not that much left for me to do as an actor. Maybe Lear.”

Although he didn’t specify what he meant by “Lear,” Washington almost certainly was referring to the William Shakespeare tragedy “King Lear.” Washington’s appetite for Shakespearean projects seems to have been whetted by “The Tragedy of Macbeth,” in which Washington was joined by Frances McDormand, Corey Hawkins, and Harry Melling. Director Joel Coen also penned the screenplay for this 2021 adaption of Shakespeare’s “The Tragedie of Macbeth.”

Speaking briefly about the film based on the 400-year-old play about a Scottish general whose grasp for power succeeds only too well, “It was just a great ride with a group of talented, talented young and older actors led by a brilliant, brilliant director.”

Although he’s performed Shakespeare’s work several times on stage, this film shows Washington in a different form compared to his previous movie roles. Many are foreseeing Washington’s performance in “The Tragedy of Macbeth” will earn him a spot on the 2022 Oscars nomination list for the Best Actor category. The nominations will be announced on Feb. 8, and the awards show will air on ABC on March 27 at 8 p.m.

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