Denzel Washington plays an airline pilot who's a cocaine addict and alcoholic in the new film flight and says he did not play the role in a way to make people like his character.
The film hit theaters on Friday, November 2 and also stars Don Cheadle. Washington's character, Whip Whitaker, becomes somewhat of a hero at first when he executes an emergency landing of his commercial jet but quickly falls from grace when his substance abuse is revealed following an investigation into what could have become a massive tragedy.
"I didn't try to make you like him. I wouldn't know how to do that. Be nice? 'Be a nice little cokehead,'" Washington joked in an interview with OTRC.com. "But I think people relate to his disease and that he's trying."
"He does a little bit of everything. He lies. He tries to manipulate people, he drinks too much. Once he finds out that things are going to go downhill and he does try for the first two or three days right after the crash to not drink," Washington said. "Then, when he finds out what the consequences are with the scene with Don Cheadle and he walks, unfortunately, right past a bar and you know, one [drink] leads to a hundred."
Washington says "Flight" may stir up public conversation because his character is a pilot "as opposed to a guy who worked at the post office or something."
"We're all guilty of, you know, chipping away a little bit of the rock of honesty but the consequence for this guy with his job are devastating," he said.
Washington earned two Academy Awards for his roles in the 1989 film "Glory" and the 2001 film "Training Day." The 57-year-old actor has also appeared in films like "Unstoppable," "Deja Vu," "The Book of Eli," "The Bone Collector," "Philadelphia" and "The Pelican Brief."