Denzel Washington has signed on to direct an episode of the Shonda Rhimes-Betsy Beers hit medical drama Grey’s Anatomy on ABC. He will helm this season’s ninth episode, which is scheduled to start shooting later this month. The gig will reunite the actor with his longtime friend and Grey’s exec producer/director, Debbie Allen. This will mark Washington’s first time stepping behind the camera for the small screen, TV Line confirms. No word yet on whether he will star in the episode, nor have plot details been revealed.
— Greys Anatomy (@GreysABC) October 14, 2015
Washington previously directed two films, 2002’s Antwone Fisher and 2007’s The Great Debaters. His career has spanned over 20 years and has earned him two Golden Globe awards, a Tony Award, and two Academy Awards: Best Supporting Actor for 1989’s war drama Glory, and Best Actor for his role as a corrupt cop in the 2001 crime thriller Training Day.
Denzel also played the leading role in the Broadway production of Lorraine Hansberry’s classic drama A Raisin in the Sun, directed by Kenny Leon. The show ran from April to June 2014, and won the 2014 Tony Award for Best Revival of a Play.
Denzel married actress Pauletta Pearson in 1983, and they have four children: daughter Katia and twins Olivia and Malcolm. Their oldest son, John David, was drafted in 2006 by the NFL’s St. Louis Rams. He also briefly played for the Sacramento Mountain Lions in the United Football League. Now, he’s following in his father’s footsteps, most recently co-starring with Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson in the scripted NFL series Ballers, created by Entourage‘s Stephen Levinson.
During a Q&A panel discussion last month on the USC campus in Los Angeles, Denzel discussed his new ventures and shared personal stories from his career. He also remarked on when his son was nervous about ditching football and taking up acting. Denzel said he reminded John David about the successful career of Kirk Douglas and his son Michael Douglas.
“My son is starring in an HBO series Ballers,” said Washington. “It’s amazing to me, looking at him. I’m like that’s my boy. I remember he said to me years ago ‘Dad your shadow is so big and I don’t know if I can.’ I said, ‘My shadow is big?’ I said, ‘You’ve ever heard of Kirk Douglas?’ He’s like, ‘No.’ I said, ‘You’ve heard of Michael Douglas right?’ He said, ‘Yeah, Michael of course.’ I said, ‘Google Michael Douglas and then come back and talk to me about my shadow.'”
According to the Hollywood Reporter, the Q&A was the first in a series of talks for Arts & Ideas: Conversations at the Wallis, where Washington is an artistic adviser. He told USC Cinematic Arts professor Dr. Todd Boyd a fascinating detail about the original ending of Training Day. When Boyd suggested a sequel could have been birthed had Denzel’s character walked away at the end, the actor revealed that was the original plan, but he “was not having it.”
“In the original script he did, but I was not having it,” said Washington.
When asked to comment on Matt Damon’s controversial remarks on diversity, Washington stressed that diversity starts with the writers.
“If you’re going to depend on someone outside of you to write for you, you’re going be waiting a long time,” answered Washington. “We have to write about what we know. I guess Steven Spielberg could have directed Goodfellas and Martin Scorsese could have directed Schindler’s List, but it’s a culture. You write about what you know first.”
Denzel Washington just wrapped filming his next role as a cowboy in The Magnificent Seven in New Mexico. He also inked a 10-year deal with HBO to executive produce all of August Wilson’s plays.
[Image courtesy Robin Marchant/Getty Images/Twitter]