Denzel Washington And Michael B. Jordan Discuss The Precarious Business Of Acting

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Acting legend Denzel Washington and rising star Michael B. Jordan sat down with the New York Times to discuss their solidified yet ever-changing careers. While the two share a 32 year age difference, they have more in common than what meets the eye.

Sixty-three-year-old Denzel Washington still has a booming career and is set to open on Broadway in Eugene O’Neill’s The Iceman Cometh, a four-hourlong play which dissects the lies we tell ourselves to get through life. Jordan, 31, is hot off the success of Black Panther and will star in HBO’s Fahrenheit 451. Despite the different phases in their careers today, both entertainers got their starts on television; Washington with the drama St. Elsewhere and MBJ with the hit HBO series The Wire. 

However, Jordan admitted that he is apprehensive about taking any roles where he dies in the end because of his “superemotional” mother. “When I shot my death scene in The Wire, she was on set. And the P.A.’s kept coming to me and saying, ‘You may want to check on your mom.’ I go see her, and she’s sitting there bawling. I’m just a kid…But there was another thing, too. Look at Denzel’s career. I want people to see me win. I want audiences to see me ending up on top — not dying. I want to be the leading man.”

Washington also opened up about the magic of theater versus films. “In film, you don’t get another night to shoot a scene. You can try to fix it in other scenes. But film is a director’s medium. Theater is for actors,” said the Training Day star. “We’re directed, but once the curtain goes up, it belongs to us. And every night’s as different as the audience. Some nights, they cheer the whole way through; others, they don’t cheer at all.” Near the end of their conversation, Washington said he will still “pass the baton” as he hopes to encourage other actors of color to keep the art alive citing that, “you’ll never see a U-Haul behind a hearse.” His next silver screen appearance will be for Equalizer 2.