Denzel Washington Interview For ’2 Guns’
Academy Award winner Denzel Washington and Mark Wahlberg lead an all-star cast in ’2 Guns,’ an explosive action film that tracks two operatives from competing bureaus who are forced on the run together. But there is a big problem with their unique alliance: Neither knows that the other is an undercover federal agent. For the past 12 months, DEA agent Bobby Trench (Washington) and U.S. naval intelligence officer Marcus Stigman (Wahlberg) have been reluctantly attached at the hip. Working undercover as members of a narcotics syndicate, each man distrusts his partner as much as the criminals they have both been tasked to take down.
When their attempt to infiltrate a Mexican drug cartel and recover millions goes haywire, Trench and Stigman are suddenly disavowed by their superiors. Now that everyone wants them in jail or in the ground, the only person they can count on is the other. Unfortunately for their pursuers, when good guys spend years pretending to be bad, they pick up a few tricks along the way. Set for August 2nd in the US and August 16th in the UK, ’2 Guns’ co-stars Paula Patton, James Marsden and Edward James Olmos. Baltasar Kormakur directs.
After portraying a series of intense characters in recent years, I understand you had been searching for some humor in his next role – and you found that in agent Bobby Trench?
Denzel Washington: Yeah. I was looking to do something lighter, and when I read this script it really made me laugh. Bobby does whatever is necessary to get the job done. He says there is no code; you do whatever you got to do, whatever it takes. I think he is an honest cop, but he doesn’t live by the honor codes. And mine and Mark Wahlberg’s characters, these two guys are undercover and they come from very different disciplines and backgrounds. They come together to take-down this big drug dealer… and they have fun doing it. And with this film, what also excited me was that I knew that Mark was very funny, I’d seen him in ‘The Other Guys,’ him and Will Ferrell, that film really cracked me up – and then of course ‘Ted’ and ‘The Departed.’ I was looking to do something lighter and this definitely was that.
Working on both sides of the law for so many years has allowed Bobby to effortlessly maneuver between the worlds. I can imagine that was fun to play with?
Denzel Washington: Definitely. ‘I-know-a-guy Bobby’ is my undercover character, he’s the kind of guy that can get anything for you that you need: a ’63 Chevy, a 1959 bottle of wine, a condo in the Himalayas (laughs). Whatever it is, he knows a guy; that’s his modus operandi. Still, Bobby’s not beyond being duped himself. Bobby and Stig are lying to each other for half the picture. I’m not what I told him I am, and he’s not what he told me he is. It’s funny, because we get along, to a degree. I really enjoyed that side of the character, playing that.
And how was playing opposite Mark Wahlberg and Paula Patton?
Denzel Washington: Mark is a very, very nice guy and a real pro, you know? He comes in ready, he knows his lines – he knows everything (laughs). He’s really a tremendous actor, a great actor. He’s so professional and so kind, and that goes along way. I had a lot of fun working with Mark. Paula’s the toughest in the bunch, she has a pretty face but she’ll beat your ass (laughs). She loves competition and fighting… anytime I would even just act like I’m going to take a swing at her she was ready to fight and jump right into it. They were both great actors to work with.
While you’re not a stranger to the action genre, how was it gaining a deeper understanding of the world of being “undercover”. Also, there’s an interrogation scene with a bull, I can imagine that was fun? You had some interesting scenes and settings…
Denzel Washington: (Laughs) Oh, man! Our DEA technical advisor, Richard Woodfork, just learning his personality and his style was important. I was able to ask him questions like, “How do you not get shot on the job?” I think a lot of those men and women are, to a degree, adrenaline junkies because they put themselves in very dangerous situations. They thrive on that. That was eye opening for me.
With the interrogation scenes… my back is better now, much better, but I had fun doing that scene. Mark and I were both game and went for it. Still, with a bull snorting at you, that’s enough to tell your secrets. And we had a bit of unexpected competition on screen (laughs). That bull tried to steal the scene. He actually kicked his feet and started snorting at us, but thank goodness that the fence was between us. That was one big, mean animal (laughs).
For the Rio Grande scene, we shot in this semidry lake bed to get the Western feeling and broad landscapes that Balt wanted. I’m a good swimmer, so it wasn’t that big of a deal. The water wasn’t that deep, but the current was strong and it would sweep you down river pretty quickly. Fortunately, the stuntman I was playing opposite was also a good swimmer… swimming a bit, walking across the desert, shooting some bad guys and wearing gold teeth: all in a day’s work (laughs).
Look out for a more in-depth interview with Denzel Washington for ’2 Guns’ later this week.
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