Photo by: Kevin Winter/ Staff
Denzel Washington spoke with Variety recently about his next film, The Tragedy of Macbeth, and the Oscar excitement around his portrayal of Lord Macbeth. The iconic actor also discussed working on Ma Rainey’s Black Bottom alongside late actor Chadwick Boseman.
At the age of 43, Boseman died of colon cancer in 2020. While on the production of the film, which Washington produced, Washington admitted to wondering whether something was wrong with Boseman’s health.
“A man among men,” the 67-year-old stated. “He suffered quietly. He made the movie, and nobody knew. I didn’t know. He never said a peep about it.”
Washington stated that the actor kept his cancer a secret for four years while battling the sickness.
“He just did his job,” Washington said.
“I wondered if something was wrong because he seemed weak or tired sometimes. We had no idea, and it was nobody’s business. Good for him, keeping it to himself.”
Washington’s portrayal of the tragic king in Joel Coen’s rendition of Shakespeare’s Macbeth has been praised by critics. Lady Macbeth is played by Oscar winner Frances McDormand, who also co-stars with Washington in the film.
Washington’s acting in the film has already sparked Oscar buzz, and if he is nominated, he will join Laurence Olivier and Spencer Tracy as the only actors to have received nine Oscar nominations.
After learning that the director wanted him in the major part, Washington met with Coen. When he spoke with Coen about the job, the veteran actor stated he was curious about how the filmmaker would film the film and remembers the conversation.
“‘Let’s talk about the black and white of it all,’” Washington stated.
Cohen responded, “‘Well, you’re Black …,’” before Washington inserted. “‘No, no, no. I’m talking about you shooting in black and white,’” Washington laughed. “So that’s where my head was at.”
The Tragedy of Macbeth will be available to stream on Apple TV+ on Jan. 14th and is presently showing in certain cities.
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