What is there not to love about seeing young folks making their dreams reality? With all the teenybopper flicks saturating the industry, it’s quite refreshing to see the “newbies” take a chance and challenge themselves to play a character with some depth! Well, meet Denzel Whitaker! We saw this young, fresh-faced talent light up the big screen in the blockbuster hit The Great Debaters acting alongside Hollywood veteran, Denzel Washington! But don’t get it twisted, he’s his own person who happens to be in the same line of business and he will let you know!
Bossip: With a name so similar to Denzel Washington, do you feel a heightened sense of performance pressure when you’re on a set?
Whitaker: Ugh, no! I love being asked this question. Yes, my name is Denzel and I understand that being named after Denzel, a lot of people would expect me to “fill the shoes” but, no, I’m a different person, you know what I’m saying? I’m a an actor coming out of the gate preparing to show an audience what I can do. Regardless of my name, people should never compare me. I’m my own person.
Bossip: What was it like working with Denzel Washington?
Whitaker: It was great! I’ve worked with Denzel twice now and both experiences have been really genuine and honest – great learning experiences, especially with The Great Debaters. It was something so magnificent and something that you rarely get in this business – when you have a family, a great support system and cast that you actually get a long with. It’s really rare, I really enjoyed it!
Bossip: You seem very sure of your craft! When did you catch “the bug?”
Whitaker: I began acting at the age of 10. I like being creative, expressive and telling stories and, as actors, that’s what we do. We tell stories and take people to a place they may have never been or maybe we do take them somewhere they’ve been and they can relate. It’s all about the art of storytelling and being as creative as possible and I love that about acting. It gives you a chance to escape or dig up something old or discover something new . . . it’s a journey!
Bossip: Wow, a true craftsman! Let’s talk about My Soul to Take. This is your first horror film, right?
Whitaker: Yes, this is my first horror film. I’ve never done a horror film before and, actually, I didn’t watch a lot of horrors prior to doing this film.
Bossip: And how is the creative process for a horror film different from others?
Whitaker: It’s a little different, in terms of production. There’s a lot of tedious work that goes into matching the blood for certain scenes. There’s so many stunts in a horror film, it’s just like being on an action film, in a sense. There’s a lot of running, ducking, dodging and jumping, there’s a lot of suspense! Even though you read the script, you still have to be frightened on set and be on high alert.
Bossip: Fun! How much of a challenge was it for you?
Whitaker: It was definitely a challenge and that’s one of the main reasons why I really wanted to do this role. I knew I was going to be working with Wes [Craven] and that I was playing a blind character. Great challenges! That’s why I was like, ‘I have to do this film,’ I was so interested! I was like, ‘it’s Wes Craven!’ I’ve never played a blind character before and this is the first film he’s written and directed in a while, so, this was his comeback and I was really excited to be a part of this project!