The first glimpse at Denzel Washington’s debut turn behind the camera landed today and it looks mightily impressive. Starring the man himself, it seems common that most actors turned directors feature themselves as the lead perhaps because they know how to get the performance they want, with able support from the always magnificent Viola Davis.
Adapted from his own play by the Pulitzer Prize winning August Wilson Fences tells the story of a former professional baseball player (Washington) who denies his son the chance of following in his footsteps whilst also causing tension with his wife when he brings home the baby he had through an affair. What could well be typical Oscar bait is given added fire by Washington and Davis, in the trailer alone there are several moments of raw emotions not to mention that fierce monologue Denzel delivers over most of the footage.
An unproved director he may be but I can well imagine Washington will have picked up some vital tips from the incredible array of directors he has worked with. Landing slap bang in Oscar season, look to see this one get some notices as the release gets closer. Washington, Natalie Portman, and Ewan McGregor directing for the first time plus the returns of Affleck and Gibson behind the camera and its clear the actor is king.
Fences opens on Christmas Day.