“Oh what a beautiful chocolate mannn!”
It’s not as if we’re at all surprised that Denzel Washington looks absolutely amazing on the cover of GQ Magazine‘s October 2012 issue, but… damn.
The 57-year-old two-time Oscar winner, who is currently filming 2 Guns (his 42nd film) with Mark Wahlberg, is the definition of sexy and debonair.
He covers the men’s style mag in a sleek Giorgio Armani double-breasted suit, Burberry Prorsum tie, tie bar by The Tie Bar, pocket square by Brunello Cucinelli, and Tom Ford shoes.
If you can take your eyes off of him for a moment, the issue also features a great interview with the acclaimed actor — who gets into career regrets, the late Whitney Houston, some thoughts on both Mitt Romney and President Obama, his father, advice for African-American men and so much more.
Check out photos from the full spread, shot by Nathaniel Goldberg, and read a few excerpts from the interview below!
On roles he regrets turning down:
“Seven and Michael Clayton. With Clayton, it was the best material I had read in a long time, but I was nervous about a first-time director, and I was wrong. It happens.”
On being a “private” celebrity:
“But that’s not my job to put stuff out there. Sidney Poitier told me this years ago: “If they see you for free all week, they won’t pay to see you on the weekend, because they feel like they’ve seen you.
If you walk by the magazine section in the supermarket and they’ve known you all their life, there’s no mystery. They can’t take the ride.” My professional work is being a better actor. I don’t know how to be a celebrity.”
On what he was looking for, as an actor, before playing Frank Lucas in American Gangster:
“The answers. I found a guy who can knock people off. How do you act that? When we were working on Man on Fire, [director] Tony Scott* sent me a tape about the Iceman, the guy that killed all of those people.
Later I saw this footage of a young girl getting shot. She didn’t do anything but drop. It’s morbid fascination, but that’s what I’m looking for. That’s what I did in Training Day. After I get shot, there’s no last speech. I want that reality.”
On Training Day becoming a new classic:
“A lot of credit goes to Antoine Fuqua, the director. He brought the gangster aspect into it. The script was more like a 2000 version of a Lethal Weapon kind of guy. That line “King Kong ain’t got nothin’ on me”—I made that up. The character’s ego, he just did not think he could lose. That was his problem.”
On Mitt Romney’s faith:
“When I see him, he’s always uncomfortable. You can see that uncomfortableness. Forget about his being Mormon. He hasn’t said anything about his faith.”
On his parents divorce:
“We didn’t have a sit-down. They’re a different generation. I didn’t ask—you just assumed. For lack of love, or whatever their reason. I never asked. What else would I want to know? I didn’t see it coming. But I wasn’t looking. I was 14.
On Whitney Houston’s death:
“Whitney was my girl, and she had done so well in recovery. And that is the toughest part about addiction.”
On his whether he and Whitney were friends:
“Not ‘talk every month’ friends, but I talked to her from time to time. And that was a monster drug that got ahold of her, it was a mean one. You can’t go back to that one. Nobody beats that. I look at people—and I don’t think I’m speaking out of line—Sam Jackson, I’ve known for thirty-some-odd years, he was down at the bottom. And he came all the way back. And when he cleaned up, he never looked back. But he can’t have that beer, because it might lead to the tough thing.
Whitney was such a sweet, sweet girl and really just a humble girl. You know, they made her this thing. She had a voice, obviously, but they packaged her into this whole whatever, but she was really just this humble, sweet girl. Me and Lenny [Kravitz], we were talking about her yesterday, and it’s more of an example to me or the rest of us to keep it together.
I was listening to her song “I Look to You.” It’s prophetic. Maybe I’m speaking out of line. Maybe she thought she could have one. And then the next thing you know, her body was betraying her. She didn’t know that her body was aging quickly. She couldn’t take it. Your body can only take so much. Some people survive [Hollywood and fame], and some people don’t.”
“Well, the story’s not told yet. He’s in the beginning of the third quarter. I don’t know what his legacy is yet. He’s the first—that’s a part of it. Like Jackie Robinson. But it just wasn’t the first game; it was lasting the whole thing.”
On whether he’d get into politics:
“No. I’m an independent. In some ways I’m liberal, and other ways I’m conservative. We get so locked in on “you have to be this or that.” It’s ridiculous. I’m not a liberal or a conservative completely. Who is? Or why do you have to be? You assess the pros, the cons, of both sides and you make an intelligent decision.”
A message to African-American readers of GQ:
“Take responsibility. One of the things that saddens me the most about my people is fathers that don’t take care of their sons and daughters. And you can’t blame that on The Man or getting frisked. Take responsibility.
Look in the mirror and say, “What can I do better?” There is opportunity; you can make it. Whatever it is that you choose, be the best at it. You have an African-American president. You can do it. But take responsibility.
Put your slippers way under your bed so when you get up in the morning, you have to get on your knees to find them. And while you’re down there, start your day with prayer. Ask for wisdom. Ask for understanding.
I’m not telling you what religion to be, but work on your spirit. You know, mind, body, and spirit. Imagine—work the brain muscle. Keep the body in tune—it’s your temple. All things in moderation. Continue to search. That’s the best part of life for me—continue to try to be the best man.”