Denzel Washington Claims Legendary ‘Training Day’ Character Wasn’t Meant To Be Black

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Denzel Washington thinks his iconic “Training Day” character was meant to be white.

Washington won an Academy Award for his portrayal of corrupt cop Alonzo Harris in the legendary crime film, but the Hollywood superstar thinks the character was originally meant to be white.

What happened? Director Antoine Fuqua cut it loose and let Washington carve out his place in history.

Denzel Washington doesn’t think his “Training Day” character was written to be a black guy. (Photo by Warner Brothers/Getty Images)

“I don’t think it was written for a black guy. It was more like a plaid-shirt [wearing] guy with beer bottles in the back. Antoine was the one that brought gangster to it,” Washington told The Hollywood Reporter when talking about Antoine Fuqua.

For those of you who have never seen “Training Day” (what is wrong with you?), Washington isn’t overhyping it all when he says his character got “gangster.”

Washington made “Training Day” one of the greatest movies ever made. Yes, it likely would have been good no matter what because of Ethan Hawke, but Denzel took things to an unreal level.

Alonzo Harris was a true gangster in ever sense of the word. Whenever Washington was on screen, it was impossible to look away.

Actor Denzel Washington doesn’t think his “Training Day” character Alonzo Harris was written to be a black guy. (Photo by Warner Brothers/Getty Images)

I can’t even imagine what the film would have been like if the main villain was a “a plaid-shirt [wearing] guy with beer bottles in the back.” It’s impossible to even envision given how great Washington was as Harris.

Denzel Washington credits Antoine Fuqua with his character being great in “Training Day.” (Photo by Warner Brothers/Getty Images)

Again, the man took home an Academy Award, and his King Kong quote is probably what secured him that little statue!

Also, for those of you unfamiliar with Fuqua’s other work, you should check it out. “The Terminal List,” “The Equalizer” films, “The Magnificent Seven,” “Shooter” and “Olympus Has Fallen” are all outstanding.

The man just knows how to entertain, and letting Washington cut it loose and just go out and play in “Training Day” was a great decision!

Written by David Hookstead

David Hookstead is a reporter for OutKick covering a variety of topics with a focus on football and culture.

He also hosts of the podcast American Joyride that is accessible on Outkick where he interviews American heroes and outlines their unique stories. Before joining OutKick, Hookstead worked for the Daily Caller for seven years covering similar topics.

Hookstead is a graduate of the University of Wisconsin.


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  1. Totally agree that the director made the right choice casting Denzel in that role. It’s very rare to find a film where the black guy is the villain and the white guy the good guy. Reversing the roles would’ve been all too predictable. Great performances by both Denzel and Ethan.

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