Sunday, September 18, 2016

I WAS INTO SPORTS, NOT MOVIES SAYS DENZEL WASHINGTON

  Although he has demonstrated his versatility in some 50 movies, Denzel Washington would seem an unlikely choice to play the gun-slinging Chisholm, the leader of a band of outlaws in the remake of the 1960's classic western The Magnificent Seven. 
  After all, he had never seen a western when he was growing up and had certainly never appeared in one as an adult. 

  "I was into sports, not movies," he tells me when we talk in Toronto. "My father was a minister so we grew up in a church and we didn’t go to the movies. King of Kings and The Ten Commandments--- and that was it. 

 "I didn’t grow up watching Westerns or anything like that and appearing in one wasn’t like some childhood dream. So I didn’t have any romantic ideas but I liked the script and thought, 'This is a good idea, its fun: just to shoot guns and ride horses and I knew that we were going to win," he laughs. 
  
  "I had never ridden that much before and I liked feeding my horse and washing him down and taking care of him and walking him around and I took care of him and he took care of me. Equine therapy is really good for the soul."


  Although the movie has some parallels with modern day corporate villainy---this time the bad guys represent a gold mining corporation---it is not something that occurs to 61-year-old Washington 


  "I didn’t think that way," he shrugs. "I didn’t read the script and go 'Oh, this is a movie against tyranny.'  It didn't get that deep. I just dug the clothes and getting to ride the horse and going around shooting."

   While the double Oscar-winning Washington is totally believable in the role originally played by Yul Brynner and Chris Pratt shines in the Steve McQueen role, the movie sadly is no match for the original. With explosions, a machine gun and an arsenal of weapons, the body count is sky-high. Although the Seven save the town they were hired to defend, it is unlikely there were many people left alive to live in it.     

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