I want to be around people that are just as enthusiastic about the process and storytelling as I am.
Hate is a problem.
I'm connected to a Wesley Snipes, and I'm connected to Giancarlo Esposito because of the history of films that we've all been a part of with Spike Lee.
Like acting, undercover detective work requires a lot of performance. There's just more pressure because it's life-or-death situations.
It's a beautiful thing when you serve the team.
My mom had an encounter with the KKK when she was, I think, 7 years old in North Carolina. She snuck into a cross burning. I'm so lucky she didn't get caught, because I wouldn't be here.
Whenever you're feeling moments of discomfort, that means true change is happening for you.
This is a privilege, what we get to do. To be able to tell stories. It's a luxury. So I have a business-like approach to it, the same way I had with football.
I'm from the old school; hard work pays off.
I got a scholarship, so I was getting my independence and not paying for school. And then here comes the NFL. 'Now you got an opportunity to get drafted? Guess we'll do that.' I did, all right.
The nature of a football team means you're relying on 10 other guys. Even then, that doesn't guarantee a win.
I can only control what I can, which is what I'm able to do as an artist.
I went to private school, but I've got family from North Carolina.
Spike Lee's been doing it for a long time now. We're all standing on his shoulders.
There are a lot of Washingtons that have played football. I could just blend in more and carve out my own name quietly.
In college, I had an alias: I was Johnny.
If I can inspire one person to actually administer change, to want to inspire change, I will follow that person.
I've gotten rejected hundreds of times.
The injury that ended my time in football turned out to be serendipitous. I tore my Achilles while training for a pending tryout with the New York Giants, and when it snapped, so did my career, basically. That's what led me to gain the confidence to get into the acting world on my own terms.
Spike Lee is a master of tone, so basically, if he wants to do something, he should do it, and Imma listen.
There's men and women out there protecting and serving, doing it the right way, that aren't talked about.
I went to a historically black college.
I'll never forget watching my dad perform in a Shakespeare in the Park production of 'Richard III' in New York.
I've failed a lot, you know, in football, and I've gone on a lot of auditions, been told no, been told I'm not right, so I know what failure feels like. It's about the work.
They were very supportive parents in all my endeavors. They have very different approaches on how they give advice.
My mother is very positive and encouraging and nurturing, as a mother should be. She's my auditioning partner. She says when it's not good enough; she says when I'm ready.
Football was the best route to obtain my independence.
As my father started ascending in the business, people around me started to treat me different. Our lives changed. So that anxiety, that sort of resentment, I just funneled it through football.
Hate has a language, so we have to find a language to combat that.
I was ignorant before I did my research of a lot of African American police officers out there who are doing their job and doing it the right way.
I felt a little anxious/nervous representing a real person in a Spike Lee film.
I hope people will see how harmful words are and how irresponsible we can be when saying the wrong things at the wrong time to certain people.
Make America great - to me... it's inclusion. Everybody in America, let's do it together, no matter what color you are. You're American. Let's figure it out.
I've loved acting since I can remember.
A lot of NFL guys are misunderstood.
I got a lot of whoopings back in the day. I was a very curious kid.
In football, I learned about trust, handling failure, embracing discomfort, and rejection, which has helped with the auditions.
Football is the ultimate team sport. You're dependent on 10 other people on the field to have success on a particular play to get to the common goal, which is the win. On a set, we need everybody doing their job and pulling their weight.
My father taught me how to hunt.
So many people - DPs, writers, and the assistants that go on to be directors and writers - come from the School of Spike Lee. He's almost set up an Institution of Spike Lee.
I had family in Carolina who were very hood and talked differently in this sort of Southern cadence.
Every time I was off school, I was in Carolina with my cousins. So it was a big influence on me. I actually experienced straight-up racism out there, too.
Ask me trivia on 'Sex and the City,' and I will know it. I rewatch it every year. Samantha? Charlotte? Those are my girls.
My mother taught me how to love.
I got introduced to Shakespeare at four years old, and I fell in love with the language.
I knew every one of my father's lines in 'Glory' - I broke the VHS tape - but I hid my love of acting to make it as my own man.
Who would I be if I complained about having a father that provided for me? Who would I be if I was complaining about having a father who loved me? That would make me a real jerk.
I would tell people my dad was all the characters he's played in movies, because once you say he's a lawyer or something, they move on.
There's some men and women out there that are doing their job the right way. They're protecting and serving complete strangers in their communities the right way. And it's a thankless job. Obviously, there's a lot of information out on cops not doing their jobs correctly, but the ones that are should be celebrated.
I've met Caucasians who are racist, but I've also heard black people say racist things.
I wanna work with filmmakers that love, are enthusiastic about their process - about the process - about their process and the environment of inclusion and collaboration. I want the people to be able to trust me, and I wanna be able to trust them.
Being able to tell people's stories - this is the most exciting job in the world to me.
Spike Lee really gave us a platform, men and women of color.
A Ryan Coogler film? I'm there for it.
I'm still trying to find the actor I want to be, but I know what kind of the talent I want to be around.
Coming from a football background, when everybody is doing their job and operating on such a high level, it only motivates you to do the same.
Movies are magical. It transcends a lot of hate or human faults in real life because of the fantasy of it all.
I had a father who was active, present. There are people out there that never knew their fathers, didn't have their father's support. If I were to complain, that would be real sad. How dare I?
I went to bar mitzvahs as a kid. I had a lot of classmates who are Jewish.
Of course I've felt racism.
There's a bit of me that always feels like, 'What's next? How can I get better?'
I love America.
It's a thankless job for police officers, period, but specifically for men and women of color protecting and serving.
I have to keep making films, getting better in my craft, and the way to do that is to work with people who know what they're doing and who can help me.
I've been reluctant in doing press stuff - even my Instagram isn't properly managed; I manage it myself. It's kind of by design. I knew that would be what people see first.
Football players are creative when they're in the moment.
Football helped me with confidence that I needed. It gave me a sense of independence and earning my own money and my own keep. That's what it served. It gave me the strength to be able to deal with rejection, politics, hard work, and being introduced to pain and embracing what's uncomfortable.
I've had the acting bug since I was, like, five. But growing up, I saw how people treated me differently when they knew who my father was, even the stuff I did on the field. Sometimes I'd rush for 100 yards, and the headline would be, 'Denzel's son runs for 100 yards.' That's where the suppression of that bug came from.
I think, culturally, stories are important, whether it be cinema, whether it be by word of mouth - which I don't even know if we do anymore, as it all seems to be social media.
On a Spike Lee set, everybody seems to want to be there and is motivated to work in unison and do the best they can.
Reinaldo Marcus Green - I'm so blessed an honored to have worked with him.