Denzel Washington will play a huge part in bringing some of August Wilson’s plays to the small screen. Entertainment Weekly confirms that Washington, the two-time Oscar-winning actor, will direct 10 of the famed playwright’s plays. They will air on HBO.
The announcement came during “An Evening With Denzel Washington.” It was a Q&A session hosted on the University of Southern California campus. Washington acknowledged his role in putting the Pulitzer Prize winner’s work on HBO.
Denzel Washington cites that he will serve as executive producer, along with other roles for nine plays, after coming to an agreement with August Wilson’s estate.
One of those roles will be producing and starring in Fences.
Fences will be the Tony Award-winning reprisal of the 2010 version of August Wilson’s stage play.
“I’m directing, producing and acting in one, and I’m executive producing the other nine. I’m really excited about that.”
Viola Davis, the actress from the play, will also star in the HBO version. She confirmed her role in Fences in a New York Times article, published in August.
“They are making ‘Fences,’ August Wilson’s play, into a feature that Denzel Washington is directing and I’m going to be in.”
Washington promises that there will be one August Wilson play to be produced every year for the next 10 years. They will all be released on HBO.
The remaining of August Wilson’s plays that Denzel Washington directs will not be his directorial debut. That came in 2002 when Washington directed the film Antwone Fisher. It is the story of a Navy man, played by Derek Luke, who is forced to see a psychiatrist, played by Denzel Washington.
Antwone Fisher received high marks with the critics. Washington won the Freedom Award given by the Broadcast Film Critics Association for the movie.
Denzel Washington also directed The Great Debaters. The film follows an all-black debate team from Wiley College that is formed in 1935. They go on to challenge Harvard University, a first for an all-black debate. It is inspired by a true story of the Wiley College debate team that challenged USC.
Denzel Washington was nominated for an Image Award for Outstanding Directing for a Motion Picture.
What fans should expect from Washington’s HBO directorial debut is unsure. The screen versions of the August Wilson plays will be slightly different than the stage plays. The plays have been a hit among those who saw the stage portrayals. They have been long-running engagements that have delighted audiences for decades.
Two thoughts to ponder is whether or not Spike Lee will be involved and if Denzel Washington’s son, emerging actor John David Washington, will appear in any of the HBO versions.
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