Denzel Washington

Antwone Fisher

Interviewed by Alana Lee

Denzel Washington has built a reputation as one of the best actors working in Hollywood today, cemented by an Oscar win last year for his role as a morally ambiguous cop in "Training Day". Now Denzel is stepping behind the camera to tell the true story of a troubled navy recruit, in "Antwone Fisher".

Why did you choose this particular project for your directorial debut?

Oh, just meeting [the real-life] Antwone Fisher. I was just touched by him as a human being and by his story, and I wanted to be a part of it. And it's a performance movie and we worked on developing it for a long time, several years, so it just felt like the right thing to do.

Tell us about Derek Luke (who plays Antwone) and Joy Bryant (Cheryl), both newcomers...

They were new but very talented. They were very open to suggestion and direction, and I just tried to share my 25 years of experience with them. I think I know a thing or two about acting and I just wanted to share that with them. They're both very talented so it was easy. I really just wanted to make sure that they felt comfortable, that they could feel like it's not an exact science.

What's the hardest thing you found about being a director?

Not getting any sleep!

So how do you feel about the movie now?

I think it's a pretty good film. It's a simple film and I think it has honesty and a lot of heart.

"Antwone Fisher" opens in UK cinemas on Friday 16th May 2003.