Denzel Washington “stole” Joel Coen’s directing advice.
The ‘Tragedy of Macbeth’ actor admitted he learned “everything” from the iconic filmmaker while working with him on the new big-screen adaptation of William Shakespeare’s play.
When asked what lessons he wanted to take with him as a director himself, he told Collider: “Everything. I was flying too. I mean, he’s a master.
“So you sometimes wonder, why here? I remember asking him once that he was making a plan and I wasn’t there. I had my director‘s hat on, because I wasn’t in this part of the scene.
“So I said, ‘Now I noticed you put the camera here, like a lower angle. Are you making a statement? Is it a psychological thing? Or why did you put the camera so low ?’
“He said, ‘Actually, I just like the ceiling.’ I was like, ‘Do you like the ceiling?’ He said, ‘Yeah, look up.’ I was like, ‘Oh yeah.’ He said, ‘Yes, I like the look of the ceiling.’ “
Washington asked him if it really was “that simple”, and discovered the importance of being prepared to allow moments of “improvisation”.
He explained: “Basically what he said was he didn’t say it verbatim, but what I got out of it is that simple now, because that he had done everything else.
“He was prepared. He had thought of it in every way. He scripted, he thought of every angle, and then at that moment he said, ‘No, I like that.
“So he had done the work, but he was always open to improvisation or another way of looking at things, to reinterpret.”
The 67-year-old star admitted that Coen planned everything in advance.
He added, “Well, he had pictures and ideas everywhere. When you went to the production office, you could see the film on the wall.
“You could see where he was going or where he wanted to go and what was influencing him and he was open. He just had pictures and drawings and stuff everywhere so there was so much to absorb.”