Denzel Washington On Caring About His Work And Not What Hollywood Thinks

Denzel Washington in The Little Things
(Image credit: Warner Bros.)

Denzel Washington has been a consistent fixture in the film and TV industries for nearly 40 years now. In that time, he’s captured audiences’ attention with the stunning performances in front of the camera along with his compelling work behind it. As an “elder statesman” in the entertainment industry, one would think that the actor has pretty much has Hollywood figured out at this point. However, it would seem that he doesn’t give it too much thought, as he prefers to focus more on the work. 

The Oscar-winning actor is surely aware of the place where dreams come true, for sure. Yet during his wide-ranging interview with The New York Times, he explained that Hollywood is a place that he doesn’t tend to focus on. And it doesn’t appear that he’s planning to change that mentality anytime soon: 

Hollywood is a street. I live in Los Angeles. I don’t live in Hollywood. I don’t know what Hollywood thinks. It’s not like it’s a bunch of people who get together on Tuesdays.

It can be difficult to overlook the allure of the bright lights and the glow of beautiful people, so it’s very impressive that the Training Day star hasn’t been swayed by it after all these years. The actor is very interesting in that he’s absolutely not a recluse but doesn’t get too involved in the daily comings and goings within Tinseltown. If you ask me, I’d say he’s found just the right balance of stardom in his life. And as he grows older, both his popularity and desire to do more work don’t seem to be going away. 

In 2020, Denzel Washington produced Ma Rainey’s Black Bottom (which reunited him with Chadwick Boseman), and the film opened to critical acclaim. This year, he had a starring role in crime thriller The Little Things and is next set to take up the titular role in the latest adaptation of Shakespeare’s Macbeth. He’s also about to mark the release of his latest directorial effort, A Journal for Jordan. Most would likely agree that the 66-year-old star is excelling and at the top of his game. But regardless of what audiences think, he’s just concerned about doing what he feels creatively:

Okay. You know, put the work out there and then people decide it’s this, it’s that.

The star may still be putting in plenty of work as an actor and director, but he’s also eager to step into another position. In the same New York Times story, he went on to say that he’s ready to serve as a mentor to younger actors, such as his Tragedy Macbeth co-star, Corey Hawkins. And it would seem that many have already benefited from his tutelage. Michael B. Jordan, who worked with him on A Journal for Jordan, raved about what it was like to watch the director work. Jordan found the experience invaluable and believes it’ll inform the way he approaches his directorial debut with Creed 3

And don’t think that younger stars are the only ones to have learned from the Remember the Titans alum. His Philadelphia co-star, Tom Hanks, soaked up plenty of knowledge from him while working on the set of the acclaimed drama. Hanks recalled sitting alongside him during the trial scenes and just watching the star go to work. As the Forrest Gump actor enthusiastically put it, “it was a thriller of an acting class.”

It’ll be interesting to see what Denzel Washington does next, and whatever that is, he’ll surely put everything he has into it. At present, you can anticipate both A Journal for Jordan and The Tragedy of Macbeth opening in theaters on December 25th. You can also check out some of Washington’s past movies through a variety of streaming platforms.

Erik Swann
Senior Content Producer

Covering superheroes, sci-fi, comedy, and almost anything else in film and TV. I eat more pizza than the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles.