In an interview with The Hollywood Reporter, Denzel Washington shares how Training Day was not mean to have a Black lead but film director Antoine Fuqa added some color to the film, bringing the “gangster” to it.
“I don’t think it was written for a Black guy,” Washington told the publication. “It was more like a plaid-shirt guy with beer bottles in the back. Antoine was the one that brought gangster to it”
Fuqua chimed in and shared how he connected with Washington due to his “raw” performance.
“I was excited to put the camera on him,” Fuqua expressed..
“On [Denzel’s] very first scene, I remember covering Denzel and I got everything I wanted as a director. I felt good about it. But I’m this young guy and a little nervous. I don’t want to screw this up. So I turned to Denzel and said, ‘You want to come to the monitor to take a look to see if you’re happy?’ And Denzel turned to me and said, ‘Man, you’re flying this plane. Call me when you’re ready,’ and then got up and walked away. Then I looked at Ethan and he gave me a look like, ‘Yep,’ and he walked away. It was a confirmation that they trusted me. It empowered me to really go for it.”
Fuqua opened up about the creative differences he experienced with Universal over the film American Gangster, which also starred Washington and shares as one of his biggest regrets not being apart of the film.
“I didn’t know enough then,” Fuqua shared.
“I don’t think I navigated it the way I should have, or had a full perspective and understanding of the business, like the fiscal responsibilities and the pressure that everyone’s under, including the executives. You do have to pause and take in the big picture. That one got away from me, and that will always break my heart. That was a chance for me to work with Denzel again in the genre that I grew up loving.”