“I thought the script was too demonic”: Denzel Washington Has One Major Regret With Turning Down ‘Rookie’ Director After Calling Most Hollywood Offers Garbage

Denzel Washington Has One Major Regret With Turning Down 'Rookie' Director After Calling Most Hollywood Offers Garbage

In a recent interview, Denzel Washington expressed regret over turning down the lead role in David Fincher’s 1995 thriller Se7en. Fincher was still a rookie director at the time, and Washington found the script too dark. But in retrospect, he wishes he had not passed on the film that launched Fincher’s esteemed career.

David Fincher
David Fincher

Washington’s comments offer insight into the difficult decisions actors face when weighing roles and unpredictable factors like a director’s inexperience. Even veterans like Washington can miss out on iconic parts by failing to recognize a promising filmmaker or underestimating a script’s potential. His misgivings about Se7en stand as a lesson in the risks of passing up an outside-the-box opportunity.

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David Fincher Was Promising But Inexperienced

When David Fincher approached  Denzel Washington about starring in Se7en, he had only directed music videos and Alien 3. Washington explained his hesitancy:

“I read the script, and it was dark. David Fincher was new on the scene, I think he had only done one movie.”

Denzel Washington.
Denzel Washington.

While Washington saw potential in rookie Fincher, he was wary of anchoring such a gruesome film from an unproven director. “It was just too demonic for me at the time,” Washington said of the macabre script featuring a serial killer based on the seven deadly sins.

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Script Was Too Grim for Denzel Washington’s Taste

At the time Se7en was pitched to him in the 1990s, Washington was selective about roles, turning down more offers than he accepted.

Denzel Washington
Denzel Washington

“It was well written, but it was just dark,” Washington said, explaining why he passed. The film’s grotesque violence and bleak worldview did not appeal to him as an acting challenge. While the script’s quality impressed him, its grim subject matter deterred Washington.

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Could Have Been Career-Defining Role

Starring in Se7en could have been a career-defining performance for Washington. The complex, tortured detective Somerset would have showcased Washington’s immense acting skills on a bigger stage.


But at the time, he underestimated how David Fincher could draw out incredible performances from his cast. Washington now sees the missed opportunity to anchor a future classic thriller from an ascendant new director.

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In Hindsight, Denzel Washington Second-Guesses Decision

Looking back, Washington recognizes he missed a prime opportunity by judging Fincher as too inexperienced and the script as too macabre.

se7en Movie
se7en Movie

“Had I had the wisdom I have now, I probably would have done it,” Washington admitted. Given Se7en‘s subsequent success and acclaim, Washington regrets doubting Fincher’s ability to pull off the sinister material. The chance to star in the director’s breakout film haunts Washington years later.

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Denzel Washington remains remorseful for passing on David Fincher’s directorial debut Se7en back in 1995. While Fincher was untested and the script deeply unsettling, Washington believes in retrospect he underestimated the rookie director’s skills and the film’s potential. Years later, Washington now looks back on the acclaimed thriller as the one that got away.

Source: GENIUS

Written by Jagriti Murjani

An author at Fandom Wire. A a devoted Swiftie and avid K-drama lover, I bring you the news of pop culture to keep you in the loop.