Denzel Washington — a legend, an iconic, we stan. We also know that if you ask him a certain question he will shade the ish out of you and you just have to sit there and take it. Believe us, we (and Katie Couric) found out the hard way.
During a recent visit on the “Everything Iconic with Danny Pellegrino” podcast Katie relived the awkward encounter with Denzel. In 2004 the former NBC anchor sat down with Washington, along with Meryl Streep and Jonathan Demme, for a Dateline interview discussing their film “The Manchurian Candidate”. During the chat, Katie asks the Oscar-winning actor if he agrees with the notion that actors should just act.
Couric: “Denzel, are you– do you feel– you know some people say Hollywood folks should stick to acting.”
Washington: “I don’t know what Hollywood folks are, first of all. Hollywood is a town that has some stars on the sidewalk. I don’t know anybody from there. So, I don’t– that’s like saying– calling you a type of folks. I’m not a Hollywood folk. I don’t know who they are.”
Couric: “Okay, all right, well, let me rephrase the question. Are you one of those people that—”
Washington: “Ah, there you go. Am I one of those people? Hmmm, isn’t that interesting?”
Couric: “Oh, stop, stop, stop.”
Washington: “No, don’t stop. I heard what you just said. “Am I one of those people?” No, I’m not.”
Couric: “No, are you an actor who would rather not—”
Washington: “No, I’m not that either. I’m a human being. My job is acting.”
Couric: “Okay, are you somebody who would rather not express his political views publicly? I mean how do you feel about that? Some people are more outspoken than others. And what I meant, are you one of the people who would rather keep it private? Don’t make my questions loaded when they’re not.”
Washington: “Would I rather keep it private? No, I’m not one of those people. I think I speak what’s on my mind.”
For the seasoned journalist the whole back-and-forth left her “shaken.”
“I love him. I admire him so much, he’s one of my favorite actors, but I remember walking out feeling kind of shaken that he had gone after me in a way that was completely weirdly uncalled for.”
“Shaken”? Really? Couric may be exaggerating a bit — Denzel seemed to just be challenging her on her word choice, not “going after” her. And we should know, the same thing happened to us during the “Equalizer 2” junket when we asked the legendary thespian about having a long-lasting marriage in Hollywood. We got challenged on the notion of “Hollywood”, got promptly (yet nicely) put in our place, and we went on our way.
Couric should probably chill — false narratives of victimhood aren’t cute.
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