Denzel Washington: ‘Movies Are Not Difficult. Send Your Son To Iraq. That's Difficult'

Entertainment
Denzel Washington at "The Magnificent Seven" premiere on Sept. 10, 2016.
Rex Features via AP Images

Acclaimed actor Denzel Washington has no patience for those who think acting is like going to war, he said during a recent Director's Roundtable discussion by the Hollywood Reporter.


"People talk about the difficulty of making a movie and I'm like, send your son to Iraq, that's difficult,” Washington said during the interview. He was joined by Mel Gibson, Oliver Stone, himself a Vietnam War veteran, Barry Jenkins, Damien Chazelle and Mira Nair.

When asked about his first job, and his worst, Washington talked about working as a garbageman  as well as a postman, before hitting on a much larger theme and one that has distanced Hollywood celebrities from the everyday folks who go see their movies:

“It’s like when people talk about the difficulty of making a movie, and I’m like, send your son to Iraq, that’s difficult,” the Oscar winning actor stated. “It’s just a movie. It’s like relax. I don’t play that precious nonsense. Your son got shot in the face. That’s difficult. Making a movie is a luxury. It’s a gift, it’s an opportunity, but most importantly it’s a gift.”

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Washington’s comments are a far cry from the way some actors have referred to the challenges they face on set. In 2013, Tom Cruise likened his work on “Oblivion;” which filmed in Louisiana, Iceland, New York, and California; to a tour to Afghanistan

"That's what it feels like." Cruise reportedly said of his job, comparing it to serving in a warzone. "And certainly on this last movie, it was brutal. It was brutal."

Acting, while a challenge, is nothing like serving in a combat zone. Washington’s words should help Hollywood keep things in perspective.

“Don’t get it twisted, it’s just a movie,” Washington said. “It ain't that big of a deal.”

A U.S. Marine with the 24th Marine Expeditionary Unit (MEU) carries cold weather equipment as he begins to march across the Icelandic terrain October 19, 2018. (U.S. Air Force/Capt. Kylee Ashton)

MONS, Belgium (Reuters) - The United States will send 20,000 troops to Europe next April and May in its biggest military exercises on European soil since the Cold War to underscore Washington's commitment to NATO, a senior allied commander said on Tuesday.

Days after a NATO summit in London at which U.S. President Donald Trump called low-spending European allies "delinquent", U.S. Major General Barre Seguin said the exercises, centered on Germany, will be the largest of their kind in 25 years.

"This really demonstrates transatlantic unity and the U.S. commitment to NATO," Seguin, who oversees allied operations from NATO's military headquarters in Belgium, told Reuters.

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In a Dec. 4 memo, the DoD Inspector General said it was changing the scope of an investigation it had opened on Nov. 18 that was titled Evaluation of Medical Resources and Guidance to Trainers at Recruit Training Centers in the DoD. Its new title, the IG said, would be Evaluation of Medical Protocols and Deaths of Recruits in the DoD.

While its original objective of looking into the medical resources available to recruits would remain the same, the IG said it would now also review all deaths of recruits at military basic training facilities between Jan. 1, 2015 and Dec. 31, 2019.

The move comes in the wake of several deaths at basic training facilities over the past year. In April, the Navy announced a safety review after two prospective sailors died at its recruit training facility in Great Lakes, Illinois. Seaman Recruit Kelsey Nobles died after a fitness test that month; Seaman Recruit Kierra Evans also died after the run portion of the fitness test.

In September, an 18-year-old soldier died following a "medical emergency" before a training drill at Fort Jackson, S.C.

Meanwhile, the Marine Corps has disciplined more than 20 Marines over misconduct at its San Diego boot camp since 2017, according to The Washington Post. The action came in the wake of a scandal involving the death of a 20-year-old Muslim recruit named Raheel Siddiqui, who fell 40 feet to his death at the Parris Island training facility, where he and other Muslims were targeted for abuse by their drill instructor (the instructor was later sentenced to 10 years in prison at court-martial).

According to the IG, Pentagon investigators will visit all DoD recruit training facilities and interview personnel from each service's education and training commands. They will also speak with personnel at military medical facilities, the Defense Health Agency, and those assigned at the Military Entrance Processing Command, which does the initial intake for civilians going into military service.

Photo: U.S. Army/Spc. Valencia McNeal

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Editor's Note: This article by Hope Hodge Seck originally appeared on Military.com, a leading source of news for the military and veteran community.

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The final conference version of the 2020 National Defense Authorization Act includes a provision that would require the service to integrate both its East Coast and West Coast entry-level training facilities within the next eight years.

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