Denzel Washington has starred in many memorable roles, but perhaps none is more legendary than his Oscar-winning performance in Training Day. However, according to Washington, much of his role in the film came through improvised dialogue.
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Speaking during a recent appearance on BBC’s The Graham Norton Show to promote your newly released movie The tragedy of Macbeth, Washington opened up about his role in the legendary 2001 film, revealing that he improvised much of the role.
“A lot,” Washington said when asked how much of his role he improvised. “I don’t know, 40 percent, 30 percent. Or, I added things. I shouldn’t say I improvised it from start to finish…but I was figuring it out as I went along.”
While Washington didn’t reveal which parts of the film were improvised, previous interviews with Antoine Fuqua, the film’s director, point out that the character’s most iconic moment in the film was mostly improvisation. In an interview with Vanity Fair in 2019, Fuqua revealed that Washington had improvised nearly all of his famous “King Kong” speech from the film.
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“The King Kong moment came out of Denzel,” Fuqua said at the time. “I remember that moment because we were doing the scene, and he just started walking out. I remember looking at the cameraman and saying, ‘I hope you got it because I don’t think we’ll ever get it again.’ Denzel came up to me and said, ‘Wow, I don’t know where that came from.’ It was exhausting for him. You saw him go there in that place.”
Washington’s improvisation worked well for the actor, as he was rewarded for his work with his second Academy Award for Best Actor for his role. While Washington was probably not winging it The tragedy of Macbeth, the actor still turned out a praiseworthy performance and could earn him another Academy Award nomination as a result.