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When you’ve had a career as illustrious as Denzel Washington has had, opportunities to take on characters unlike any you’ve portrayed before are few and far between. But for Washington, his latest turn as Macbeth in Joel Coen’s The Tragedy of Macbeth certainly hit that note. So much so, the acclaimed actor who recently told Variety in his cover story that he started acting in order to make money to be able to direct, says it will be exceptionally hard to choose his next part.

“Roles like Macbeth raise the bar very high,” Washington tells ESSENCE. “It’s hard to — well, I imagine I’ll see — but it’s hard to find that level all the time. It’s impossible. They obviously can’t all be Macbeths and films like Macbeth make it harder to do films that aren’t like Macbeth.”

Washington recently told Extra that Macbeth is the last film of his that he watched from start to finish — so that he could talk about it in interviews — explaining “I don’t look back. I look forward.” When asked how he’s able to improve his craft without watching his performances repeatedly, he told us, “I don’t know if an actor can improve their craft by looking at their work because you’re not looking at it through an unbiased lens. You just aren’t.”

Similarly, Washington, 67, told us he tries not to read reviews of his performances either. “Sometimes you can’t help but see something but it surely can’t help you. It can’t help you when they tell you how great you are and it can’t help you when they tell you terrible you are. I’ve had both said — worst actor ever and the greatest actor ever.”

When we question who would call him worst he adds, “I don’t know if they said ever, but worst that day.”

Watch our full interview with Denzel Washington above. Macbeth is currently streaming on Apple TV+.

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