Denzel Washington is one of the finest actors of our generation. Over the years, movie-goers have witnessed some of the grandest cinematic entries in the actor’s embellished filmography. With a four-decade career, the movie star has left an indelible mark on Hollywood. As an actor, Washington has been required to pull off some of the most challenging feats. However, there was one undertaking in particular that the Flight alum was hesitant to commit to, which resulted in downright refusal.
As per reports, the revered icon once turned down a love scene with The Pelican Brief (1993) co-star and dear friend Julia Roberts. The reason behind the refusal wasn’t personal. The two actors shared undeniable chemistry on-screen, and their friendship persisted off-screen. Despite that, many have questioned why the Glory star was insistent about not kissing Roberts. The alleged rationale implied something beyond what concerned the two celebs. Let’s have a look.
Did Denzel Washington Turn Down A Love Scene With Julia Roberts?
The Pelican Brief, a legal thriller starring Julia Roberts and Denzel Washington, was released in 1993. The Alan J. Pakula-directed picture endured a mixed critical response and grossed $195.3 million worldwide. The two characters portrayed by the leading stars never kissed on-screen despite exuding immense chemistry. Many fans were puzzled by this. What would prevent such a romantic exchange from taking place? For years, it was assumed that Roberts was opposed to it. However, this was not the case.
According to Newsweek, the Notting Hill actress had the following to state on the matter:
“I have taken so much s**t over the years about not kissing Denzel in that film. Don’t I have a pulse? Of course, I wanted to kiss Denzel. It was his idea to take the damn scenes out.”
Why did Washington refuse to participate in a kissing scene with his co-star? It was speculated that this was related to an incident a few years back when the actor co-starred in a film with Tom Cruise’s then-wife, Mimi Rogers. The audience’s reactions may have had a crucial part to play.
The Possible Reason Behind Denzel Washington’s Shocking Refusal
Denzel Washington was reportedly reluctant to engage in a love scene with Julia Roberts due to the audience reactions during The Mighty Quinn (1989) test screenings. The film supposedly contained a sequence in which the actor shared an on-screen kiss with actress Mimi Rogers, which provoked loud booing from the audience’s black women.
According to Newsweek, the studio eventually removed the sequence at the actor’s request. It seemed that the Hollywood star had grown concerned about how his fans would receive interracial scenes.
Washington’s devotion to his black female fans, who he asserted are his core audience, stems from how they were alienated on the big screen. At the time, films were plagued by a lack of representation, with Hollywood seemingly sidelining black love stories. In light of this, Washington reportedly did not want to disappoint his core audience, who had supported him for years.
Following is what he stated to Newsweek:
“Black women are not often seen as objects of desire on film. They have always been my core audience.”
If we were to go by rumors, this wouldn’t be the first time an interracial love scene was omitted at the urging of Washington. There were speculations that Denzel Washington once pushed to have such an on-screen moment with Australian actress Radha Mitchell from Man on Fire (2004) taken out. However, these reports were denied by the actor’s spokesperson. As per Today, the reports that the Hollywood star lobbied for the love scenes in the 2004 film to be removed were untrue.
The spokesman also disputed Washington’s involvement in having comparable scenes from The Pelican Brief deleted, contradicting Julia Roberts’ statement to Newsweek. The situation appears to be cloaked in mystery.
Whatever the reason, we can confidently affirm that Washington does not require explicit love scenes to radiate chemistry with his co-stars. He accomplishes this entirely through his on-screen presence and acting ability. Besides, as was witnessed in Flight (2012), the actor did not seem to harbor any reluctance while kissing white actress Kelly Reilly. So, some of these rumors should be considered with perhaps more than just a pinch of salt.