Last weekend saw the long-awaited release of Fences, the adaptation of August Wilson’s renowned play which finally arrives on the big screen under the direction of Denzel Washington. After recently sitting down with his co-star Viola Davis, we had the honour of speaking to the man himself about the film and his Academy Award nomination, which you can watch in full through the player below.
Fences tells the story of Troy Maxson, a man who dreamed of becoming a baseball player when he was younger but by the time the major leagues had begun in integrate black players into their teams, he was deemed too old and missed his chance. Instead, he had to find work where he could and became a sanitation worker in Pittsburgh.
In our interview, Washington spoke of the prevalence of the story even today thanks to the amazing screenplay by Wilson, as well as how he approached directing the film and transferring it from stage to screen. Indeed he was first approached by producer Scott Rudin about being involved in the film version before he had even taken over the role for the play version off Broadway.
He spoke of his delight at how the film has performed at the box office and with critics, with Fences now one of the most successful play adaptations in cinema history. Nominated for Academy Awards, Washington spoke of the award season juggernaut and he worked much harder with the film given that this is his first time going through it as a filmmaker
In addition, Washington made the decision to reunite many of the actors, including Viola Davis, Mykelti Williamson, Russell Hornsby and Stephen Henderson, who performed the play with him for over 100 performances and brought them back for the film version.
You can read our review of the film here.
Fences is released in the UK on the 10th of February.