It’s hard to imagine a two-time Academy Award winner like Denzel Washington having any regrets about his film career, but he does have some second thoughts about the roles he didn’t take.
What if Denzel Washington had been in “Seven” instead of Brad Pitt? And what if he played the title character in “Michael Clayton” instead of George Clooney? If Washington could go back in time, he would reverse his past decisions to pass up those plum roles, citing them as his two biggest career regrets in a recent interview with GQ.
“With ‘Clayton,’ it was the best material I had read in a long time, but I was nervous about a first-time director, and I was wrong. It happens,” Washington admitted. The film 7 Oscar nominations — including Best Director for Tony Gilroy – and one win for Tilda Swinton in the Best Supporting Actress category. Clooney was also nominated in the Best Actor category.
Seven didn’t win any Oscars, but it has become a modern detective classic. Washington said he initially passed it up because it was too dark and evil, but later kicked himself when he saw the David Fincher film in theaters.
Washington also told GQ that he really wanted to be in two of the ’80s most lauded military flicks — “Platoon” and “Full Metal Jacket.” But he said the producers of “Jacket” wouldn’t allow him to see the screenplay in advance. “They were like, ‘Well, [Kubrick] doesn’t send out his scripts.’ I was like, ‘Well, then what do you want me to do?’ ‘Platoon,’ I wanted to play the part Willem Dafoe played,” Washington revealed.
He also got some of his most popular roles thanks to some actors dropping out. Val Kilmer turned down Crimson Tide, while Samuel L. Jackson didn’t take on Training Day (Denzel won his 2nd Oscar), and Robert DeNiro passed on Man On Fire. Speaking of DeNiro, he and Al Pacino are on Denzel’s short list of actors he wants to work with. ”Anybody whose last name ends in an o,” he joked.
Washington could be gunning for his 3rd Oscar when his next film, Flight, comes out on November 2.