Denzel Washington Helped Robert Downey Jr.’s Iron Man Co-Star Land His Hollywood Dream in $22M Movie Against Director’s Wish

Actor Denzel Washington is one of the most prolific actors of the generation. He has won acclaim and accolades for portraying a wide variety of roles. The two-time Academy Award winner has had immense success in both blockbusters as well as dramatic roles.

Washington is also known for many charitable ventures as well as uplifting the African-American community. Late actor Chadwick Boseman had expressed their gratitude to Washington for his generosity as he was the recipient of a scholarship that was paid for by the actor. Recently, Marvel star Don Cheadle also revealed that one of he got one of his early roles due to Denzel Washington.

How Did Denzel Washington Help Chadwick Boseman?

Chadwick Boseman

Chadwick Boseman

Late actor Chadwick Boseman is a household name due to his phenomenal performance in the MCU as Black Panther. The actor made his first appearance as King T’Challa in Captain America: Civil War and then went on to appear in the solo film Black Panther as well as Avengers: Infinity War and Avengers: Endgame.

Before his breakthrough as the Black Panther, the actor was known for portraying various black historical figures in films. He played iconic personalities such as baseball player Jackie Robinson, civil rights lawyer Thurgood Marshall, and singer James Brown. He also collaborated with director Spike Lee on the actor’s last film before his untimely death, Da 5 Bloods. The actor succumbed to cancer-related issues in 2020.

Boseman started off as a student of directing at Howard University. During his time as Howard, Chadwick Boseman was selected for the Oxford Summer Program for acting. His mentor and teacher was actress Phylicia Rashad, who brought on her friend Denzel Washington to sponsor Boseman and his classmates to attend the program. Washington acted as a silent sponsor for the whole batch.

Talking about the gesture at a ceremony where Denzel Washington was honored with a Lifetime Achievement Award by the American Film Institute, Boseman said,
“Many of you already know the story that Mr. Washington when asked by Phylicia Rashad to join her in assisting nine theater students from Howard University…he gracefully and privately agreed to contribute…I was one of the students that he paid for. Imagine receiving the letter that your tuition for that summer was paid for and that your benefactor was none other than the dopest actor on the planet.”

Boseman went on to collaborate with Denzel Washington in the film Ma Rainey’s Black Bottom where Washington was a producer.

Denzel Washington Convinced A Director To Hire Don Cheadle

Don Cheadle and Denzel Washington

Don Cheadle and Denzel Washington

Actor Denzel Washington is also known for helping out his fellow actors when the occasion arises. One such actor is MCU actor Don Cheadle. Cheadle gained global recognition for his portrayal of Robert Downey Jr.’s close friend James Rhodes.

Before Cheadle made it into the big leagues as Marvel’s War Machine, he was still an upcoming actor. One of his breakthrough roles was in Carl Franklin’s Devil in a Blue Dress. He played a supporting role named Mouse, who helps Denzel Washington’s PI, Easy Earl. While Cheadle had worked with Franklin before when he was younger, Washington had to convince the director to cast him in the role. Talking about the incident, Cheadle said,
“Carl sort of had cemented in his mind that I was that 19-year-old kid that he had worked with and he never saw me as a dude that could ever be Denzel’s contemporary.”

Don Cheadle and Denzel Washington

Don Cheadle and Denzel Washington

Franklin’s main qualm was that Don Cheadle was ten years younger than Washington and hence would not be believable as his friend. Denzel Washington then stepped in and convinced the director to cast Cheadle.

“…and then Denzel’s like ‘Well I’ll age down five years, you’ll age him up five years and then we’ll be contemporaries. It’s not a big deal.’”
Carl Franklin cast Cheadle in the supporting role. Don Cheadle has since starred in many iconic films and shows such as the Oceans trilogy, House of Lies, and Hotel Rwanda. He collaborated with Washington again in Flight.

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