Watch: Don Cheadle & Kerry Washington Talk Frank About Hollywood

Don Cheadle and Kerry Washington are celebrated in this dynamic interview conducted by Variety. Just a warning, it’s 30-minutes long, but there is enough goodies for any cinephile to enjoy.

The two dazzling stars of ABC’s Scandal and Showtime’s House of Lies have appeared in some of the game’s finest movies, in addition to being on the small screen. When they’re not fixing things or protecting Earth alongside Tony Stark, Washington and Cheadle both fight for those who cannot fight for themselves by backing causes and social issues that impact humanity around the globe.

Focusing more on becoming actor-activists (or creativists), these two aren’t typical celebrities, they are encouraging and impacting across the board. The sit-down chat with Variety finds the two powerhouses discussing their paths to prime time success, being Black in Hollywood, and how they use their celebrity superpowers to improve the world around them. This candid conversation is worth listening to, and is essential to anyone wondering about life and work in the entertainment industry. It’s all a part of Variety’s upcoming Primetime Emmy series, which will find its nominees announced next month.

You can watch the chat below:

Some intriguing highlights from the interview:

The role race plays in their career, and if they think it’s something “overplayed in the media as part of your story?”

Cheadle: I think I’m somewhat defined by my race for sure, and I’m good with that and I actually want that to be a part. … I think that should be fodder for our work — we should use all aspects of ourselves. I’m always trying to find a place where that’s actually an impact on what I’m doing as opposed to going, “Well, we’re all just people and we’re the same.”

Washington: I agree. I think it’s relevant. I think gender is relevant. I bring something to the table as a woman; I bring something to the table as a woman of color. So I feel like, if it’s the only thing you focus on, then it’s a danger, and if you never talk about it then it’s a danger.

How they use their celebrity to fight for big causes and important issues:

Cheadle: You’re there because you can draw focus and attention and attraction, but really what you’re (trying) to do is go, “That’s the expert, that person really knows a thousand times more than what I do about this issue and these are the people who it’s about. Yes, I would love to talk about Iron Man with you, but I want you to talk to them about their thing.”

I’m trying to pass the ball like Brad Pitt was saying: “We can’t get out of the light, and they can’t get in the light.” So, we’re trying to use that bounce and go, “Oh you’re looking me? Bing! Now go look at that.” … A lot of it is frustrating to me because — and I see (this) when I get the feedback from the organizations I work with — when I pull out of it, a lot of times that whole energy gets sucked out of it, too, and now it’s hard to get that issue back in the press.

Props: Shadow & Act