Legendary actors like Denzel Washington have nothing but stories to tell when asked about their rise to fame. With movies like Glory, Malcolm X and Crimson Tide making up the earlier era of his career, Washington has shifted into parts like the one he played in his latest film, The Little Things. Once the mentee, Denzel Washington is now the mentor, and even he noticed it during a scene he filmed with Rami Malek and Jared Leto for that project.

Promoting the murder mystery thriller that’s currently available in theaters and on HBO Max, Washington spoke with Reel Chicago and provided his reflections of filming The Little Things. Those thoughts came to him during a big interrogation scene, which required Denzel Washington to watch the action from behind a two-way mirror before entering the scene. Memories of those films gone by came into the forefront as the scene progressed, leading to this exchange between Washington and his interviewer:

Watching, there’s a scene we shot with Jared and Rami and they’re in the interrogation room. And I’m in the observation room. The cameras were all in there the first half of the day or whatever and I’m just in the observation room, missing the popcorn, just watching these two young guys go at it. Whatever amount of years ago, 30 years ago, I was the young guy with the Gene Hackman or whoever. But now I’m the guy watching the young guys. It was fascinating… to watch their joust if you will.

One day, you’re standing on the bridge of a nuclear submarine with Gene Hackman, trying to avert World War III in Crimson Tide, and before you know it, you’re letting Rami Malek tease Jared Leto into a potential confession. My, how time flies by, though Denzel Washington’s experience on The Little Things wasn’t a passive recollection of glory days past. Rather, reading his words above shows how he appreciates the texture of the authoritative role that he once played against in the beginning of his career. Not to mention that Washington got to watch two talented actors go head to head, and he didn’t have to pay a subscription fee to do so!

Though one could only imagine how nervous Denzel Washington’s co-stars were on the other end of that glass. Imagine you’re Rami Malek or Jared Leto, both Academy Award winners, and you have to play out your scenes with the promise that Denzel will burst in and shake things up. But before he does, he gets to watch and note your performance on the set of The Little Things. It's a good thing Leto refused to wear a wig for the movie, as that might have led to some unexpected sweating under the circumstances.

The Little Things might seem like another in a long line of Denzel Washington movies that house roles only he could play, but that’s because he was once an actor starting out on the other side of the glass. It only makes whatever projects are yet to come in Washington’s career all the more exciting, as future films will make for interesting comparisons to what he’s done before, and what new challenges still await. Though we here at CinemaBlend wish Denzel Washington’s younger co-stars the best of luck standing up to that man’s kind, but authoritative presence on set.

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