“He’s dead serious”: Denzel Washington Was Told He Was Not Handsome Enough to Play One of His Iconic Roles

Denzel Washington did not impress his real-life counterpart, Herman Boone with his looks.

"He's dead serious": Denzel Washington Was Told He Was Not Handsome Enough to Play One of His Iconic Roles

SUMMARY

  • Denzel Washington was told to his face that he was not handsome enough to play the role of Herman Boone in Remember the Titans.
  • Apart from looks, Washington did make Boone very proud with his portrayal.
  • Producer Jerry Bruckheimer recalled that Washington didn’t just play coach, rather, he was the coach on set.
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Denzel Washington played the real-life character of Herman Boone, the football coach of the earlier T. C. Williams High School, in the 2000 film, Remember the Titans. While Boone had one of the best performances of his career, Washington did not impress the man himself when he first met him. The Equalizer actor was told to his face that he was not handsome enough to play the role.

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Denzel Washington
Denzel Washington

The film explores Boone’s attempts to bring together the high school football team amidst the rising racial tensions. Initially hesitant to take on another biographical role, the script and meeting with Boone changed Washington’s mind.

Also Read: Not Just Black Panther, Anthony Mackie Wanted to Play Another Iconic Marvel Character That Nearly Went to Denzel Washington

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Real Life Herman Boone Told Denzel Washington That He Was Not Handsome Enough

Denzel Washington in Remember the Titans
Denzel Washington as Herman Boone in Remember the Titans

Denzel Washington’s Herman Boone in the film replaces Will Patton’s Bill Yoast as a black head coach. As portrayed in the film, Boone is a no-nonsense guy and quickly gains the respect of his team and fellow coach, Yoast. Washington was still fresh from his Oscar-nominated role in The Hurricane where he played another real-life character when he was approached for the role.

The producer of the film, Jerry Bruckheimer, urged Washington to visit Herman Boone. The Training Day actor recalled the meeting with Boone in an interview with the Tampa Bay Times, stating that Boone was a real piece of work. The Malcolm X actor shared that the high school football coach did not like him and told him to his face that he was wrong for the role. Washington told the Tampa Bay Times:

“The first thing he tells me is that I’m all wrong for the part. Mostly because I’m not handsome enough. I think he’s kidding me, then I realize he’s dead serious. He’s a real old-school, football-coach piece of work.”

However, The Little Things actor got to know from Boone’s wife that he had mellowed down in his old age. The meeting influenced Denzel Washington to join the project, as he now had a clear picture of the character he had to play in the film. Apart from looks, Washington did make Boone very proud with his portrayal.

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Denzel Washington Didn’t Just Play Coach, He Was The Coach

Denzel Washington in Remember the Titans
Denzel Washington as coach Herman Boone in Remember the Titans

Denzel Washington had no difficulties stepping into the shoes of a football coach, as he had previously coached his son’s football team. Bruckheimer revealed that the American Gangster actor was the only one in his mind to play this character. As Bruckheimer recalled, Washington didn’t just play coach, rather, he was the coach on set.

The Man on Fire actor took it upon himself to maintain discipline on set throughout filming, even carrying around his own whistle. The film was made on a tight budget, which put considerable pressure on the cast and crew. Speaking like a true coach, Washington shared with Tampa Bay Times:

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“I never acted like anything but the coach and never wanted to. I wasn’t there to make friends or waste time. I was there to help turn some guys who didn’t know each other into a team in a short time, just like Boone had to. I mean, we had some fun. Making movies ought to be as enjoyable as you can make it, but we were under pressure.”

Also Read: “No he couldn’t beat me, I would knock him out”: Denzel Washington Claimed Sylvester Stallone Could Never Beat Him in a Boxing Match

Remember the Titans was made on a budget of $30 million, with Washington’s salary cut down to a fraction of his usual pay. The film was a critical and commercial success, grossing $136.8 million at the box office. Remember the Titans is now available for streaming on Disney+.

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Written by Hashim Asraff

Articles Published: 1282

Hashim, Entertainment Writer. With over 1000 published articles on FandomWire, he covers a wide range of topics from celebrity life to comic book movies. He holds a Masters degree in Sociology and his expertise proves invaluable in handling sensitive news. His passion for crime investigation thrillers has turned him into a detective, exploring the darkest corners of the internet during his research.