What Denzel Washington ‘stole’ from a big shot director

What Denzel Washington 'stole' from a big shot director
Denzel Washington (Photo credit: / Jamie Lamor Thompson)

Denzel Washington “stole” directing tips from a big shot Hollywood heavyweight.

The Tragedy of Macbeth actor has admitted he learned “everything” from the iconic filmmaker Joel Coen while working with him on the new big screen adaptation of William Shakespeare’s play.

Asked what lessons he wanted to take with him as a director himself, he told Collider: “Everything. I was stealing too. I mean, he’s a master. So you wonder sometime, why over here? I remember asking him one time he was setting up a shot and I wasn’t in it. I had my director’s hat on, because I wasn’t in that part of the scene. So I said, ‘Now, I noticed you put the camera down here, like a lower angle. Are you making a statement? Is that a psychological thing? Or why’d you put the camera so low?’ He said, ‘Actually I just like the ceiling.’ I was like, ‘You like the ceiling?’ He said, ‘Yeah, look up.’ I was like, ‘Oh yeah.’ He said, ‘Yeah, I like the way the ceiling looked.’ ”

Washington asked him if it was really “as simple as that,” and found out the importance of being prepared to allow for moments of “improvisation.” He explained: “Basically what he said was, he didn’t say this word for  word, but what I got from it was, it was as simple as that now, because  he had done everything else. He was prepared. He had thought about it [in] every way. He story boarded, he thought about every angle and then at that moment he said, ‘No, I like  this.’ So he had done the work, but then he was still open to improvisation or another way of looking at it, reinterpreting.”

The 67-year-old star admitted Coen had planned out everything in advance. He added: “Well, he had photographs and ideas up everywhere. When you  went to the production office, you could see the movie on the wall. You could see where he was going or where he wanted to go and what influenced him and he was open. He just had pictures and drawings and stuff everywhere, so there was so much to absorb.”

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