It’s pretty much every actor’s and director’s dream to work with Denzel Washington, and very few are lucky enough to call the Oscar winner a mentor.
Barry Jenkins, the Academy Award–winning director behind Moonlight, is one of the few. Jenkins recently told Variety that following the success of the film, Washington reached out to him.
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“I had a lunch with Denzel and he gave me some of the most amazing advice I’ve ever been given, both life and career,” Jenkins said.
Washington has helped other Hollywood actors too, sometimes even unknowingly. Black Panther’s Chadwick Boseman revealed earlier this year that he was able to take summer theater classes at Oxford University while he was an undergrad at Howard University because of the Equalizer 2 star. At the request of actress Phylicia Rashad, who was teaching at the HBCU, he had donated funds for her students to study overseas. Washington later joked that when he met Boseman, who thanked him for the opportunity, he said, “I liked the movie Black Panther. Yeah, good. Wakanda forever, but where’s my money?
Jenkins added, “I think in some ways he is a part of this. When all of us sort of come up and break out, Denzel is kind of like the godfather. He reaches out, ‘Let’s go to lunch.’ You sit down for like three hours, he has this binder, he lays it out. ‘Do this; don’t do that. If you do that, then you do that.’ Just really loving and compassionate and caring.”