Over a decades-long career, Denzel Washington has become one of the most accomplished actors in Hollywood. His career comprises a wide range of iconic roles that have not only solidified his status as a Hollywood icon but have also made him a two-time Oscar winner.
One such iconic role also includes the role of Detective Alonzo Harris in the 2001 crime drama Training Day. Starring Washington and Ethan Hawke, the movie follows a rookie LAPD officer who learns about how corrupt his seniors are over a day.
Training Day (2001)
The movie earned widespread praise from critics and was also considered a box officer hit, having a box office collection of $104 million. The film is filled with iconic scenes and quotes. However, during his appearance on the ReelBlend podcast, director Antoine Fuqua revealed the behind-the-scenes narrative of one of the legendary scenes from the 2001 crime drama.
Denzel Washington Improvised the Iconic Training Day Scene
Several Hollywood actors like Bill Murray and Jack Nicholson are known for their improvisation skills, which have resulted in some of the most memorable moments in cinematic history, whether it’s Roy Scheider in Jaws or Jack Nicholson’s The Shining improvisation.
Actor Denzel Washington also did something similar while filming the 2001 crime drama Training Day. Starring alongside Ethan Hawke as Alonzo Harris, the actor delivers a long speech, and toward its end, he says, “King Kong ain’t got sh*t on me.”
During an interview, the director of the film, Antoine Fuqua, shared that the quote was not in the original script and was actually something Washington improvised at the moment. “The King Kong moment came out of Denzel. I remember that moment because we were doing the scene, and he just started going off,” he shared.
It would turn out to be the iconic scene for the movie, which eventually landed The Equalizer star an Academy Award for Best Actor. And the director of the film has shared that he was concerned he might have failed to capture the moment.
Antoine Fuqua’s Major Concern About Denzel Washington’s Ad-lib
During his appearance on the ReelBlend podcast, the director of the 2001 crime drama Antoine Fuqua shared that he was immersed in Denzel Washington’s performance. As the scenes progressed and the Oscar winner dropped the King Kong line, Fuqua claimed he saw “him go into a different place.”
Antoine Fuqua with Denzel Washington
However, he also knew that it was one take thing and that he might not get the same authentic reaction from the actor in another take. And the filmmaker was concerned that he may have lost what would go on to become one of the most memorable scenes of the movie.
“I was so in that moment with [Denzel Washington], I was watching him, and I just saw him go into a different place. And so at the end of it, it was just like, ‘Is it in focus? Did we get that?’ Because I knew it wasn’t happening again.”
Ethan Hawke, Denzel Washington, and Antoine Fuqua filming Training Day (2001)
The director further shared that the smallest thing like a “little buzz on the anamorphic lens,” would have ruined the take. The King Arthur director shared that he wanted to be assured that they got the shot as “it wasn’t digital back then.” Fortunately, the camera was focused and Fuqua shared that he was relieved that the scene was captured perfectly.
Training Day is available on Max.