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Denzel Washington had to convince the director not to quit this movie

Living legend Denzel Washington once helped save a really weird movie, that probably shouldn't have been saved, by convincing the director not to quit.

Denzel Washington in Deja Vu

Denzel Washington strikes us as a pretty cool guy. I mean, he’s Denzel Washington; you don’t need us to tell you he’s cool, but we just don’t think you’d get to the level he’s at, making some of the best movies ever with some of the best directors ever, without being easy to get along with.

It probably won’t come as a surprise to learn then that during his long career, some filmmakers have come to rely on his natural charisma to get stuff done. In fact, on at least one occasion, Washington was critical in keeping his director on the project.

The film was Deja Vu, a forgotten time travel film that probably won’t end up on anyone’s favourites, but it did have two things going for it. The first was Washington (one of the best actors of all time), and secondly, the late great Tony Scott, who actually did make some of the best action movies ever (Top Gun, Man on Fire, The Last Boy Scout), was directing.

Unfortunately, as writer Terry Rossio admits on his blog, Scott clearly wasn’t a massive fan of the script. This led to Scott ultimately quitting the picture, which caused Rossio and his co-writer
Bill Marsilii to panic as they believed Washington would follow his friend out the door.

The pair then spent the next two weeks writing and rewriting the script to keep Washingon on the project, but they needn’t have worried. Washington was, in fact, about to do the pair a huge favor, calling Scott up personally and getting him back on the film.

“At one point, director Tony Scott quit the project, and it was up to the writers (Bill and myself) to undo the damage so that Denzel Washington wouldn’t quit, too,” Rossio wrote.

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“…So we spent two weeks pulling all-nighters to fix the script, and when we were done, the revision was deemed so good that not only did Denzel re-commit, he called Tony and talked him into coming back on board,” he continued. “Reportedly, Denzel made Tony look him in the eye and swear he wouldn’t quit the movie again. Tony said yes.”

Unfortunately, Scott had one demand. He wanted to bring on his own writers, and as Scott did return to the project, we imagine he got his way. Unsurprisingly, both Rossio and Marsilii have said the finished product isn’t what they wanted it to be, and both have blamed Scott for the film’s poor reviews.

Rossio claims he was so put off by the whole debacle that he’s actually never sat down to watch the film he wrote. Still, the pair went on to bigger and better things, helping to write the story for one of the best adventure movies of the new millennium, National Treasure, and they’re working on the new Godzilla film as well, so it all worked out in the end.

Denzel Washington in Deja Vu

If you’re a fan of Washington, then check out our list of the best Denzel Washington movies. We’ve also got an interview with director Antoine Fuqua, who’s worked closely with Washington on all the Equalizer films.

Perhaps you just love celebrity anecdotes; well, you’re in the right place. We have a story explaining why Kubrick denied Denzel Washington an audition and revealed what advice Spielberg offered the star.

Finally, why not check out our list of all the new movies coming in 2024?