For Denzel Washington, Boston not only served as the location of his latest film, but also where he garnered a less than favorable view of the city after being called the N-word on more than one occasion by residents.
Washington’s revelation came Sunday during a press conference for The Equalizer at the Toronto International Film Festival.
As the actor, along with director Antoine Fuqua and co-stars Chloe Grace Moretz and Marton Scokas, spent most of the event discussing acting methods and the uneasiness present on the first day of shooting. A question about filming the action thriller in Boston led to Washington’s memories of hearing the N-word there three decades ago.
Washington says he was in Boston with wife Pauletta Pearson Washington, who was performing in a play. The night turned uncomfortable as some people in Denzel’s hotel thought he was a pimp and Pauletta a prostitute. From there, security was called, and a fight broke out.
“I didn’t know how to fight, but I knew how to win,” Washington said. ” ‘Hey n—, n—, n—, n—, hey boy.’ I was like, ‘Damn.’ That was the taste I had about Boston,” the Oscar winner recalled.
Washington also recalled the first time he was called the N-word. The actor was around nine-years-old when he was in Florida standing on a balcony. After group of kids harassed him, Washington went into his house and asked his mother why the kids would call him such a word.
“And she said, ‘Oh, that’s just somebody worried about you taking their place.’ It was like crabs in the bottom of the barrel. And in Southwest Boston, they were all right there,” the entertainer said, referring to homes in poor areas that are packed next to each other. “They are at the bottom. So it was like, ‘We’re better than you.’ Yeah, so I came in (to Boston) with all those kinds of memories.”
The Equalizer director Antoine Fuqua made headlines of his own with a production partnership with IM Global. Indiewire.com’s Shadow and Act blog noted that IM Global – one of the leading film financing, sales and distribution companies in the world – will develop, produce and finance feature film projects with Fuqua’s production company, Fuqua Films, under the newly signed CAA-brokered deal.
“Antoine is such a great creative force whose career is going from strength to strength and we look forward to helping him and Kat [Samick] take their company to the next level as a production powerhouse,” IM Global CEO Stuart Ford said.
Fuqua’s next film endeavor will be Southpaw, a boxing drama starring Jake Gyllenhaal and Forest Whitaker.
The Equalizer arrives in US theaters Sept 26.