When Training Day was released in 2001, it was universally praised for the performances of Denzel Washington (who finally won his first Lead Actor Oscar) and Ethan Hawke, in particular. But there’s one other star who really made the thriller movie what it was – the iconic 1979 Chevy Monte Carlo that the mismatched duo spend the almost the entire run-time rolling around in.
In the brilliant 2000s movie, Hawke plays a rookie cop who is teamed with Washington’s experienced, but corrupt narcotics detective. It was shot on-location in LA’s South Central, in neighborhoods where real gang activity was taking place. Dr. Dre and Snoop Dogg had supporting roles in the movie, which was directed by Washington’s frequent collaborator Antoine Fuqua.
At a Training Day 20th anniversary event at TIFF, Hawke recalled to director Fuqua [via EW]; “We had some laughs. Do you remember the day the Monte Carlo got stolen?” Fuqua replied; “It was back, I think, within 24 hours polished and cleaned, by the way. Those guys down there said, ‘Don’t worry about it. We got it.’ It was back in the exact same spot they stole it from, too.”
Fuqua also mentioned they had “a lot of support” from the local community when making the action movie, including various gang members. “We got Latino gangs, the Bloods, the Crips, really open arms to come into these areas and film with all their support. They were really excited about it.”
Fuqua remembered how real gang members would sometimes “flow in” to the set. “Right in the middle of [Washington and Hawke] filming would be real guys all up in there,” he continued. “We weren’t going to say, ‘Get out the frame!’… They all wanted to be a part of it.” This authenticity helped cement Training Day as one of the best Denzel Washington movies.
A prequel called Training Day: Day of the Riot reportedly began production in February 2022, but it’s still listed on IMDb as being in “pre-production,” so it doesn’t look like we’ll be getting it any time soon.
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