Sandie here, bringing you the debut of a new feature on Hold the 'Fone, where we spotlight our favorite "living legends" in the film industry. A select few working in Hollywood qualify for the designation, and we can think of no one better to start off with than Denzel Washington.
Family Status: Married with four children
Hometown: Mount Vernon, N.Y.
Breakout Role: Playing South African freedom-fighter Steve Biko in director Richard Attenborough's 1987 docudrama, 'Cry Freedom'
Total Films: 34, including his latest, the time-bending thriller 'Déjà Vu'
Noteworthy Awards: Two Oscars (five nominations), two Golden Globes (five nominations) and 14 Image Awards
Trivia: He has starred in four of director and good friend Spike Lee's films.
The Essential Denzel (it was hard to choose just six):
Personal Fave: 'Glory'
Even though I've seen and loved most of Washington's filmography, 'Glory' is one of the finest war films ever. And that scene of him raising the flag on the 54th's doomed uphill rush (you know the scene, it's unforgettable) is simply awesome.
Next In: 'Déjà Vu'
I had the chance to interview Denzel via AIM about 'Déjà Vu' and what it was like to make a third movie with director Tony Scott ('Man on Fire' and 'Crimson Tide') and über-producer Jerry Bruckheimer ('Remember the Titans' and 'Crimson Tide') in post-Katrina New Orleans. Here are some highlights of what he had to say:
Moviefone: What made 'Deja Vu' a compelling project for you?
Denzel Washington: An interesting twist on the genre,a love story in reverse and the opportunity to work with Tony Scott and Jerry Bruckheimer again
Moviefone: What was it like to work in New Orleans?
DW: Quite interesting. Educational. Learned much more by being there than what the media and newspapers told you. I didn't realize how big it was, the scope.
Moviefone: Were there locals on the cast & crew?
DW: Absolutely. A lot, actually.
Moviefone: It must've been surreal, especially since the movie portrays a bombing there.
DW: What was surreal was what happened to that city. I mean, a movie is just a movie, you know? It's sad.
Moviefone: I wanted to ask you about Paula Patton. She is a relative newcomer.
DW: She is a star in the making. A wonderful actress and human being.
Moviefone: Is she really that gorgeous in person?
DW: Yes, absolutely.
Moviefone: How did you keep from making her feel intimidated?
DW: I don't know, by being nice.
Moviefone: So you think she's a rising star? That'll make a lot of male fans happy!
DW: Ithink so. I KNOWso. And by the way, she's married!
And on that somber note (sorry guys, Patton's husband is sexy R&B singer-producer Robin Thicke), Denzel had to go. But don't worry, we've got plenty more for you to check out about our first Living Legend and his new film 'Déjà Vu,' which I promise is up-to-par with Washington's previous collaborations with Scott and Bruckheimer (but we won't say too much about it, because we're not in the business of spoilers over here, people). I WILL say that it's the kind of nail-biter you keep thinking about and talking about hours and even days later.