Denzel Washington: 'Fences needed a black director'

30th Nov 16 | Entertainment News

Denzel Washington can understand why August Wilson refused to let a white filmmaker direct the movie version of his play Fences.

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Reports suggest the late playwright insisted studio bosses could only pick up the film rights to his 1983 period drama if they agreed to let an African-American take charge of the project.

Denzel stepped up to direct and now the movie version of the tense race drama, in which the Oscar winner also stars alongside Viola Davis, is among the frontrunners to land Oscars gold in 2017.

The Flight star admits he understands why Wilson, who passed away in 2005, was so adamant about a black man taking the reins of his Pulitzer Prize and Tony Award-winning play.

"(Martin) Scorsese probably could have directed Schindler's List and (Steven) Spielberg probably could have directed Goodfellas, but it's as much to do with the difference in culture as it is with race," the actor/director tells The Hollywood Reporter.

"We (black people) know what hair smells like when a hot comb hits it. That's a cultural thing. We know what that smells like on Sunday mornings, usually church-related or something. In my house, it was getting ready for church and your sister was getting her hair fried."

And his co-star hopes white film fans will better understand African-Americans by watching the film.

Viola adds, "I think sometimes what people miss about black people is that we're complicated, that we are indeed messy, that we do our best with what we've been given.

"We come into the world exactly like you. It's just that there are circumstances in the culture that are dictated and put on our lives that we have to fight against."

© WENN Newsdesk 2016