Denzel Washington said he directed his new film A Journal For Jordan because he ‘wanted to please God’ with it.
The 66-year-old Academy Award winner shared the connection between his new Michael B. Jordan–starring drama and his faith in an in interview from this week with Religion News Service.
The iconic actor’s film is inspired by the true story of First Sgt. Charles Monroe King, who was killed in Iraq in 2006, leaving his partner Dana Canedy to raise their young son Jordan on her own.
Putting faith on screen: Denzel Washington said he directed his new film A Journal For Jordan because he ‘wanted to please God’ with it in an interview with Religion News Service this week; seen December 16 in LA
Canedy, a former New York Times journalist and a Pulitzer Prize winner, originally wrote about a journal that her late fiancé prepared for their son during his time in Iraq for her newspaper, before expanding it into a 2008 book, which served as the basis for the new film.
A Journal For Jordan will go into wide release starting on Christmas Day.
While speaking with Religion News, Washington admitted that he would gather his cast and crew in prayer before starting to film for the day.
‘The spirit of God is throughout the film. Charles is an angel,’ he said of the character played by Jordan. ‘I’m a believer. Dana’s a believer. So that was a part of every decision, hopefully, that I tried to make.
‘I wanted to please God, and I wanted to please Charles, and I wanted to please Dana,’ he added.
Inspired: ‘The spirit of God is throughout the film. Charles is an angel,’ Washington said of the character played by Jordan; still from A Journal For Jordan
True life: The film is inspired by Dana Canedy and her late fiancé First Sgt. Charles Monroe King, who left a journal for his infant son after he was killed by a roadside bomb in Iraq in 2006; Canedy and her son Jordan seen on December 9 in NYC
The Tragedy Of Macbeth star also shared that he was inspired by Canedy’s undying love for her late fiancé.
‘It’s cliche to say, but I’m a living witness, having gotten to know Dana,’ he said. ‘True love never dies. That’s what they have — not had — have.’
Canedy agreed, adding: ‘Love, true love, never leaves you; if I drew my last breath today, I would still be Jordan’s mother and still love him.’
The actor-turned-director also shared a humorous anecdote about a line he added into the journal for the film — ‘Talk to the one who can do something about it’ — which went over the head of the young actor playing Jordan in his film.
‘That actual line I added — talk and speak to the one that can do something about it — and I was always frustrated when I was cutting the film. Because the young boy, he didn’t quite understand what I was trying to say, to talk to the one [points heavenward].
‘But of course, it was kind of the way God wanted because in the child’s mind, talk to the one who can do something about it: Mom,’ he said, as he and Canedy both burst into laughter.
Whoops! The legendary actor-turned-director joked about how the young actor playing Jordan in the film thought a line that was supposed to be about God was actually about his mother; seen in 2019 in Hollywood
Washington sounded similarly spiritual when speaking about his reasons for making A Journal For Jordan with the New York Times earlier this month.
‘I’m more interested in directing because I’m more interested in helping others,’ he explained. ‘What I do, what I make, what I made — all of that — is that going to help me on the last day of my life? It’s about, Who have you lifted up? Who have we made better?’
He added that, ‘If you don’t have a spiritual anchor you’ll be easily blown by the wind and you’ll be led to depression.’
While Washington is staying busy with his latest directorial effort, he can soon be seen on screen in Joel Coen’s upcoming cinematic adaptation of Shakespeare’s The Tragedy Of Macbeth.
He stars as the title character, while Frances McDormand — who is married to the director — stars as the conniving Lady Macbeth.
The film, which was shot in striking black and white, is already a hit with critics and boasts an impressive 96 percent fresh rating from reviewers surveyed by Rotten Tomatoes.
The film enters limited theatrical release on Christmas Day, followed by a streaming release on Apple TV+ on January 14.
Critical favorite: Denzel is currently receiving rave reviews for Joel Coen’s Shakespeare adaptation The Tragedy Of Macbeth, which also stars Frances McDormand
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