The CBS SUNDAY news program had a nice interview feature on Mr. Washington today. It was taped onstage at the theatre. He talked, of course, about his new Broadway show and about the early days of his career. During the piece, there was clip of PHILADELPHIA, the 1993 film in which he played a homophobic lawyer who represents an AIDS-stricken unemployed lawyer fighting for his civil rights in the Philadelphia. The bigotry of homophobia cost him his job.
ROMAN J. ISRAEL, ESQ. is a 2017 film drama that put Denzel in legal action again. Here, he's quite different. The story is set in Los Angeles. He's middle-aged, on the chunky side, in need of a haircut, in need of a new wardrobe and he takes the bus because he can't afford a car.
ROMAN J. ISRAEL, ESQ. has one of my now favorite Denzel Washington performances. He's more vulnerable here than he's come to be over the years. His characters have flaws that are dramatic, serious, nothing to laugh at -- think THE HURRICANE, FENCES, FLIGHT, TRAINING DAY. He's a no-nonsense hero in THE EQUALIZER. In ROMAN J. ISRAEL, ESQ., there's a touch of doofiness about his character that makes him warm and inviting. Roman eventually will experience melodramatic, heartbreaking incidents. He'll get spruced up and beaten up. But, before then, it's refreshing to see something about a Denzel Washington character that "lightens up" a bit, if you know what I mean.
I thought the framed photo of Bayard Rustin in Roman's humble apartment was a most interesting and an inspired touch.
Oh! One thing that was not mentioned in the CBS SUNDAY feature. Well, two things. There was no mention of his Oscar history as Hollywood's most Oscar-nominated black actor. And there was no mention that David Morse, another terrific veteran actor, joins Denzel Washington in the cast of THE ICEMAN COMETH. David Morse and Denzel Washington were co-stars on the hit NBC series, ST. ELSEWHERE, back in the 1980s.