Denzel Washington brings ‘Fences’ from the stage to the big screen

Margot Robbie’s wedding sounds like a dream come true — but what happens when dreams don’t work out? That’s the focal point of the new movie “Fences.” Deco’s very own dreamweaver Chris Van Vliet flew to L.A. to chat with the cast.

And these days, I’m just dreaming of a white Christmas. We all know Denzel Washington as an incredible actor, but he’s no stranger to directing films too. It’s just been a while. “Fences” is the first movie he’s directed in nearly 10 years, and it’s getting some serious Oscar buzz.

“Fences” is the Tony Award-winning play brought to the big screen for the very first time.

Denzel Washington (as Troy Maxson): “I don’t want him to be like me. I want him to get as far away from my life as he can possibly get.”

It’s set in Pittsburgh in the 1950s. Denzel Washington plays a man with broken dreams. After not making it as a pro baseball player, he takes his frustrations out on his son and his wife, played by Viola Davis. Denzel not only stars in this, he directs it too.

Chris Van Vliet: “As an actor and a director, what do you have to do to make a play not feel like a play when it’s a movie?”

Denzel Washington: “Not worry about it. That’s what you have to do. Every movie is a screenplay. This just happens to be a great play that we put on the screen.”

Jovan Adepo (as Cory Maxson): “What you ever given me?”

Denzel Washington (as Troy Maxson): “Your feet, them bones, that pumping heart.”

Jovan Adepo (as Cory Maxson): “You ain’t never done nothing but hold me back, afraid I was going to be better than you.”

Denzel knows the material well. He and the majority of the cast were part of the Broadway revival in 2010, which won three Tony’s, including Best Actor for Denzel and Best Actress for Viola.

Denzel Washington (as Troy Maxson): “It’s not easy for me to admit that I’ve been standing in the same place for 18 years.”

Viola Davis (as Rose Maxson): “Well I’ve been standing with you!”

The script in the movie is almost word for word the same as the play, but Denzel tells me you have to act differently when the camera’s on.

Denzel Washington: “There’s a difference with stage acting where you have to make sure the people up there can hear you, like hitting ends of words. You’d never do that in a film.”

Denzel Washington (as Troy Maxson): “Now don’t you go through life worrying about whether somebody like you or not, you best be making sure they’re doing right by you.”

In the play, the set is limited to the backyard only — but with the film, they had a chance to explore other locations and use different props.

Chris Van Vliet: “You use the baseball on a string as a device in the film. What do you think the metaphor is?”

Denzel Washington: “I just thought it was a cool shot.”

“Fences” is in theaters on Christmas Day. Every time Chris talks to Denzel, he asks how often he sees his son in Miami. John David Washington stars in “Ballers,” which of course filmed it’s first two seasons here. And the answer is just once … on a red carpet.

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