Tags: Hollywood | Denzel Washington | missed roles

Denzel Washington: Roles He Missed That Other Actors Made Famous

By    |   Saturday, 28 November 2015 10:52 PM

Denzel Washington’s roles have been as distinguished as “Malcolm X” and as humble as the grapes character in Fruit of the Loom commercials. He has won acclaim for his roles in films like “American Gangster.” He won Oscars for his performances in “Glory” and “Training Day.”

Washington has played doctors on TV (St. Elsewhere) and a gay man with AIDS (“Philadelphia”). He was in four Spike Lee movies. Then there are the roles that got away. Some roles Washington turned down made other actors famous.

The Male Lead in “Dreamgirls”
Washington was polite about turning down the male lead in 2006 movie “Dreamgirls,” director Bill Condon told Entertainment Weekly. He said, “Thanks very much, I don’t sing,” Condon recalled. The movie required singing. It was about a trio of female soul singers who cross over to the pop charts in the early 1960s. The role of music biz honcho Curtis Taylor Jr. went to Jamie Foxx.

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A Detective in “Se7en”
One of the detective roles that went to Brad Pitt and Morgan Freeman in “Se7en” in 1995 could have been his, Washington told Playboy magazine in a 2002 interview. The movie was about two detectives, a rookie and a veteran, who hunt a serial killer. Washington thought it was too dark at first, but he had second thoughts about not being in it.

The Lead in “Michael Clayton”
Turning down both “Se7en” and “Michael Clayton” are decisions Washington regrets, he told GQ magazine in 2012. “It was the best material I had read in a long time, but I was nervous about a first-time director, and I was wrong,” he told GQ. “It happens.” The “Michael Clayton” role went to George Clooney, who received a Best Actor nomination for it in 2008.

Washington hasn’t let the roles he’s missed define him.

“My career is based on saying no,” he said in an interview on The Talks. “Sidney Poitier told me many, many years ago that the first four or five movies that you do will determine how you’re perceived in the business. So I was very blessed that the second movie I did was with Norman Jewison, the third movie I did was with Sidney Lumet, and the fourth movie I did was ‘Cry Freedom’ with Richard Attenborough, for which I was nominated for the first time. I was off to the races. There were other movies that I could have done and I didn’t do.” He said in The Talks interview that he tells young actors: “You don’t have to compromise.”

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Denzel Washington's roles have been as distinguished as "Malcolm X" and "Glory." Some roles Washington turned down made other actors famous.
Denzel Washington, missed roles
Saturday, 28 November 2015 10:52 PM
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