Denzel Washington is on the cover of GQ‘s October Style Playbook issue, on newsstands September 25; the featured interview is already online, and in it, Denzel reveals a few items I wasn't previously aware of, and I'm guessing some of you aren't aware of either. So I'm sharing…
The most startling reveal Denzel makes is that his oldest daughter Katia Washington (she'll be 25 in November) is involved in Quentin Tarantino's Django Unchained.
Answering a question about his very first job as a paperboy when he was 9 years old, to learning how to hustle, tell stories and act working in a barbershop in his early teens, and cherishing his independence at the time, he shared that he sees himself in his oldest daughter who's apparently in the business, stating:
My oldest daughter – I see her digging her independence. She doesn't like me talking about it, but she's working with Tarantino.
Oops! I don't think Katia is going to like that very much Denzel. She doesn't like you talking about it!
GQ clarifies, asking if she's working on Django Unchained; and Denzel replies:
Yeah. I can see myself in her.
GQ then notes the humor in all this, recalling Denzel's feud with Tarantino over the latter's addition of what Denzel felt was "racist dialogue" to the script of Crimson Tide (Tarantino did an uncredited rewrite of the script to that film). Denzel replies:
Isn't that interesting how life goes? But I buried that hatchet. I sought him out ten years ago. I told him, "Look, I apologize." You've just gotta let that go. You gonna walk around with that the rest of your life? He seemed relieved. And then here we are ten years later, and my daughter's working with him. Life is something.
So there ya go… Katia Washington is working on Django Unchained. Although it's not entirely clear if she's working in front of the camera, or behind it. The interview with Denzel doesn't say specifically.
She's not listed anywhere in the film's credits (on its IMDBPro page); and a google search revealed nothing.
She's a Yale grad, where she earned a Bachelor of Arts degree, although I couldn't find out in what area specifically. As a student, she was a member of an organization called Shades – an cappella group that focused on black music – R&B, gospel, jazz. So she can sing, we can assume.
Now that Denzel has revealed her involvement in the film, I'm sure we'll get clarification on how she's involved soon enough. The cat's out of the bag, as they say.
Other notable mentions from the GQ interview with Denzel:
Roles that he regrets turning down: Seven and Michael Clayton.
I had no idea he was offered the Brad Pitt role in Seven. Why did he turn it down? He felt that the script was "too dark and evil." Obviously he doesn't feel that way now, since he regrets turning down the part. Would Morgan Freeman still have been cast in the film if Denzel accepted the role that eventually went to Brad Pitt? Imagine that – seven with an all black starring cast (assuming the part Gwyneth Paltrow played would have gone to a black actress). We can dream can't we?
As for why he turned down Michael Clayton (a role that eventually went to George Clooney in a film that would go on to be nominated for 7 Academy Awards – all in major categories including Best Picture – and won 1 – Tilda Swinton for Best Supporting Actress), Denzel said that, while he thought that the script was excellent, he was nervous about working with a first-time director in Tony Gilroy.
I was wrong. It happens.
Indeed. While Gilroy was a first time director, it's not like he was a total novice to the filmmaking process. Before Michael Clayton, Gilroy penned the screenplays for a few box office blockbuster movies (like all 3 Bourne movies that starred Matt Damon, for example), and he'd executive produced others (Proof Of Life, Bait).
So while writing screenplays and executive producing aren't exactly the same as directing a film, it wasn't like Gilroy was some young kid right out of film school, with no experience whatsoever. He'd been active in the business (writing, producing) for some 25 years by the time Michael Clayton was made.
Ah well… as Denzel said, he was wrong… it (shit) happens. You move on…
Now one can only wonder if he took both of these roles (Seven and Michael Clayton), what impact, if any, they may have had on his career trajectory. Not that he's done poorly for himself. He's doing just fine. I'm just wondering…
So there ya have it… Katia Washington is working on Django Unchained (but we don't know in what way exactly), and Denzel regrets turning down Seven and Michael Clayton.
The full GQ interview, which also includes conversation about politics, inspiration, technique, family, and more, can be read HERE.