Denzel Washington is a unique star given the fact that he completely immerses himself into every role he takes on and has literally played everything from a runaway slave to Malcolm X to a corrupt cop in LA.
He has a few Oscars to his name, can count Oprah as a friend, and is a household name. However, despite all of this Denzel is normal enough that you could easily share an elevator with him and not even notice who was standing next to you.
To meet him in person the 58 year old looks stunning and trim and more like forty than the wrinkled mess that he was in his last film, Flight. In Flight, Washington plays William Whitaker who is a coke snorting alcoholic pilot that is able to pull off an amazing rescue right before he is pulled in front of a jury to account for why the rescue had to take place in the first place.
Washington, known as a method actor, explained that to prepare for the role he sat down with some real pilots and tried out a few flight simulators to get a feel for flying. Interestingly enough, his young trainer said that a drunk pilot has never been an issue for their airline, whereas the senior trainer had some completely different stories to tell.
This is likely why Flight brought an Oscar nod for Washington, because his character is easy to hate at the same time that you want to love him. After all, he is able to be clear sighted and courageous when it counts, but at the same time he is struggling with an addiction that turns him into a demon at the same time that he is a guardian angel. It’s a tricky role, but Washington plays it brilliantly.