Denzel Washington on The Book of Eli
By Fred Topel | Image property of Warner Bros
Post-apocalyptic movies always have their remaining pop culture remnants. There’s the leather attire in The Road Warrior and even Waterworld had Smeat. The Book of Eli puts the title character, played by Denzel Washington, in headphones and sneakers you might recognize.
Washington Protects The Book of Eli
“Those are the ones we use, the Dr. Dre stuff,” Washington said. “That’s what we use in the movie. Well, if it happened today, you’ve got what you’d have on today. You don’t see it but I wear a pair of LeBrons too. The first pair of sneakers I have on are LeBrons but you can’t tell.”
Eli comments on the road that surviving bandits smell so bad they can’t even surprise him. Luckily, stench wasn’t the problem on the set. “There was a lot of wind blowing. It was a trippy thing that happened and it’s actually used in the movie. When I stick that sword into the first guy whose arm I cut off, I stuck the sword into him real easy, almost like a sacrifice and the wind started blowing. The sand blew right over us and kept going right through the tunnel. It was like death or something and I stuck with it. It just kind of blew through and it stopped and we cut. Everybody was like, ‘Uh…’ I said, ‘I think we’re on the right track here.’”
Book of Eli
Washington kicks butt in the post-apocalyptic action thriller, but there’s a lot more to the character than just physical training. “We did a lot of work, a lot of sessions with Allen [Hughes] and myself and my son and the writer. I walked through a lot, page by page, we did a lot of rewrites. I’m sure a lot of that has to do with my own personal experiences. I couldn’t give you one off the top of my head but coming off of directing and I know how to work as a director, I really want to flesh out and flush out the characters and I play all the parts.”
He even came up with developments for the other characters. “One day in one of the sessions, I just came up with the idea of Gary [Oldman]’s character saying, ‘Pray for me.’ I mean it, that wasn’t in the original script but it just made sense to me, that this guy at that moment when it seems like he’s got everything and he’s the most evil or whatever you want to call him, he says, ‘Pray for me.’ Does that make him more twisted? It just felt right that ‘Oh yeah, by the way, between you and me, put in a word. I know I’m no good, but you know…’”
Ultimately, whatever themes are at work in The Book of Eli, Washington wants audiences to decide for themselves. “I always say it depends what they bring to it. It’s not for me to say. That’s the way I look at it. I don’t overanalyze it, ‘I want them to get this’ because I think it shouldn’t be as narrow as just the way I think. I know what my character wants from scene to scene or whatever but if I start thinking result terms, what I want you to get this from it, then I might start showing you something so that I’ll get the result I want, and maybe I’m not right.”
The Book of Eli opens to theaters January 15th.
For the trailers, stills, posters and more movie info, go to the The Book of Eli Movie Page.
Sources: Image property of Warner Bros
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