The first time I saw Denzel Washington act was in the Spike Lee-directed biopic–”Malcolm X.” The scene I remembered most, was him in a panic after perming his hair with no water to wash it out.

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I remember the first time he made me a believer and that was in “Glory.” Denzel has starred in over 40 movies and been nominated four times at the Academy Awards–two of which he won. But, anyone who knows Denzel, knows that.

His recent interview with GQ Magazine revealed something about the smooth thespian we didn’t know before. He, though incredibly handsome, celebrated, poised and articulate, has regrets too. Washington has played every character, from a solider in “Glory” to father who held a hospital hostage to save his son’s life. There are two roles he missed though, and according to the 57-year-old actor–two movies which carry his regrets!

“‘Seven’ and ‘Michael Clayton.’ With Clayton, it was the best material I had read in a long time,” he told Michael Hainey of GQMagazine. “But I was nervous about a first-time director, and I was wrong. It happens.”

He opened up about his influences, rituals and first memories of being on stage. Here’s an excerpt from the interview:

Do you have any code you live by?

I read from the Bible every day, and I read my Daily Word. I read something great yesterday. It said, “Don’t aspire to make a living. Aspire to make a difference.”

What’s your first memory of being onstage?

I was around 7, 8, whatever I was. We did a talent show at the Boys Club. Me and another guy, Wayne Bridges—God rest his soul—he’s the father of Chris Bridges, Ludacris. We decided to be the Beatles. So we went to John’s Bargain Store and bought fake guitars and wigs and did “I Want to Hold Your Hand.”

Is there an actor who has influenced you?

There’s a scene in The Godfather II. De Niro’s in a theater. And he’s looking back. It’s just a look. I don’t think I’ve ever imitated another actor, but there’s nothing wrong with learning from them.

When you were playing Malcolm X, you said one of the things that helped you “get” Malcolm was noticing that he was always pointing.

That was one of the keys. It wasn’t the key. He does a lot of that. And he didn’t say “against,” he said, “a-ginst.” So I started throwing in extra “a-ginst”s, because it made me feel like I was in rhythm.

Read the full article, here.

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