Denzel Washington is arguably one of the most versatile stars in Hollywood today. The veteran who has been part of many commercial blockbusters and critically acclaimed films spanning decades, has also done the gamut of roles in multiple genres and excelled in all of them. One of his earlier films includes the award winning Tom Hanks drama Philadelphia directed by Jonathan Demme.
The film which touched a powerful chord with audiences, saw Washington play a homophobic attorney who is humbled after taken on the case of a gay man with AIDS played by Tom Hanks. The role required the Training Day star to dig deep into his emotions through an intense performance. Washington who was adamant to play this character, had to fight for the role over first choice Robin Williams.
How Denzel Washington Landed His Role In Philadelphia
In the critically acclaimed Philadelphia, Hollywood star Denzel Washington played Joe Miller, a lawyer who reluctantly agrees to defend a homosexual man with AIDS played by Oscar winner Tom Hanks. The film sparked many powerful talking points on gay discrimination and justice for the LGBTQ+ community propelled by Hanks and Washington’s impressive performances.
The Hurricane star’s character though, was initially meant to be a comedic filler to balance out the heavy nature of the narrative according to director Jonathan Demme for which he had one of Hollywood’s most celebrated funny men Robin Williams in mind for the role. Washington, who was already extremely impressed with and invested in the character, convinced Demme about his penchant for wit, despite being known for starring in serious dramas.
“Well, I happen to be very, very funny.”
Ironically though, after bagging the role, Demme completely changed the course of Washington’s character and did away with the comedic element in the film. In retrospect, this move turned out to be the best one as the impact and intensity of the narrative was felt by audiences worldwide.
Denzel Washington Messed Up Tom Hanks’ Diet During Philadelphia Filming
Tom Hanks and Denzel Washington starred together in one of Hollywood finest films Philadelphia a story about an Aids afflicted gay man who seeks justice through his lawyer. The film saw the two Oscar winners give impressive performances while also sharing a great chemistry on screen. Their rapport continued off-screen as well with Hanks and Washington having some memorable moments together on set.
The Malcolm X actor indulged in some pranks as well with his co-star who was on a stringent diet for weight loss in order to look the part of a man affected by AIDS. Washington confessed that he would try to mess up the Forrest Gump star’s routine by sending him junk food on set.
“He was really really skinny in the scenes in the courtroom. So I would leave candy bars, and I would sneeze and 500 almond joys would fly out. I was having pizzas delivered to him.”
Despite Denzel Washington’s mischief on set, Tom Hanks, the thorough professional, did not cave in and the result was a well-deserved Oscar for Best Actor. The actor though, went on to thank his co-star Washington for the win and the good times on set.
Source: Slash Film