Denzel Washington has put on a number of remarkable performances over the course of his career, but few compare to what's on display in Antoine Fuqua's Training Day. It's an inarguably iconic turn, with the role of Alonzo Harris winning the star his second Academy Award, and it has quickly become a pop culture staple. It's amazing to think that it's been nearly 17 years since its release, and I recently had the chance to reflect on it with the actor and director:
Training Day was the first collaboration between Denzel Washington and Antoine Fuqua, but it created a bond that has since led to the making of three more movies. The most recent is The Equalizer 2, a direct sequel to the film they made together in 2014, and it was during the Los Angeles press day for the action feature that I asked them about their shared past. Being a huge fan of the 2001 cop drama, and having the opportunity to sit down with the two men, I couldn't help but ask about the experience, and how they look back on it.
One of the first things that sprung to Denzel Washington's mind was simply the atmosphere in which Training Day was shot -- namely the rough-and-tumble neighborhood surrounding the Palmwood Dr. cul-de-sac in Los Angeles. Apparently much of it has been improved in the last decade-and-a-half, but Antoine Fuqua drove home the fact that what audiences saw in the movie is very much a representation of what the area used to be like (and, frankly, that doesn't sound like a super fun environment in which to shoot a film.
Following up, I specifically inquired about what has become the one line with which the entirety of Training Day has become synonymous: "King Kong ain't got nothin on me!" It's weirdly a quote that Alonzo Harris screams at the top of his lungs right at the time that his defeat has become clear, but Denzel Washington sells the hell out of it, and for just a brief moment you question if he perhaps does have an escape from his inevitable deadly face-off with the Russian mobsters. It's the kind of magic you'd think might be recognized right on set, but Washington explained that wasn't really the case. Instead, he was just enjoying the hell out of playing the role and letting his id go wild. Said the actor,
I was just having a good time! Just around the way... it was like, 'Oh, I can do or say anything!'
The years since have seen Denzel Washington and Antoine Fuqua reteam on The Equalizer and the remake of The Magnificent Seven, and soon The Equalizer 2 will be heading to a theater near you. The film arrives in theaters this Friday, July 20th, and be sure to stay tuned here on CinemaBlend for more of our coverage.