Wednesday, May 17,1995 - . Denzel Washington wants to star in a romantic comedy •y SOB THOMAS Til* AtM«l«tMl Pratt SANTA MONICA, Calif. — By adding action adventure to his film credits, Denzel Washington has done Just about everything in his young career. His repertoire includes suspense ("The Pelican Brief"), war ("Glory," Academy Award, supporting actor), race ("A Soldier's Story," "Cry Freedom"), biography ("Malcolm X"), social drama ("Philadelphia"), musical ("Mo' Better Blues") and even Shakespeare ("Much Ado About Nothing"). What's left? "I haven't done a romantic comedy yet, and I want to," says the affable actor. "Penny Marshall and I have been working on one for some time, and I hope it will happen," Like a good soldier, Washington reported for a round of interviews at an oceanside hotel to call attention to the May 12 opening of'"Crimson Tide." That's Hollywood Pictures' early entry into the summer rush of big-name, big-budget adventures. Washington co-stars with Gene Hackman in a submarine suspense saga about who is going to launch the first missile strike: the sub commander (Hackman) or former Soviet army rebels. And did the actors enjoy life on the high seas? "We never left Culver City," Washington said with a laugh. "Never got wet. "No, actually we did go to sea — out toward Catalina (Island) and shot some stuff. That's as close to Russia as we got." As for being claustrophobic, the actor said, "No, because there was always one side of the set that was open. Yes, because for 11 weeks we were on that same stage, the same little set. Tony (Scott, director) likes to puff a lot of smoke in for atmosphere. And he's smoking cigars. "I did go down in an old World War II sub to see what it is like. Whew!... I couldn't make it 90 days at a time, as they do. I'm not claustrophobic. But I guess I am. Just the thought of it!" "Crimson Tide" did not have the Navy's cooperation, so the film company had to make-do. "The Navy said something like this could never happen," Washington said. "They said the men who are in the key positions do so much psychological testing that they would not break down un- der those, circumstances. No one knows, or we don't know, how close they've been to pushing the button. , "I heard reports that the Navy, had been abused in supporting 'Under Siege' and 'Red October.' I also heard that they couldn't support a film twit suggests Americans firedfu^t at Russians," : • •> The" filmmakers "stole" the necessa shots with real submarines on the ocean, he said, by finding out when subs were leaving Pearl Harbor arid filming them from a distance. Washington's career has been notable for his willingness to accept smaller movies with limited audiences as well as the big ticket items. This he, attributes to his theater background. • "I've been very smart about the roles I've chosen," he said, "but I like to think it also has to do with just being able to act — to go from 'Malcolm X' to 'Much Ado About Nothing.' I don't think the average actor or quote- unquote 'movie star' would make that choice. "'There's no money.'... 'It's a step down.' 'Why are you taking a lesser part?' ... Then the agents would steer their talent in a different direction. I only bring this up because it saddens me. "I want tc see younger (American) talent than myself. I want to be inspired. I want to say, 'Wow, we're thriving!' If we're not, I want to find out what we can do File Photo Denzel Washington, who ttsra hi the racently retessed turner "Crtnwon Tide,' is concerned thst to many of the oood roles In today's movies are 0oln0 to torsion acton. about it. Because, much like we did 10-15 years ago when we had to import our Hondas and Toyotas, we are importing actors." Washington said he started to notice the pattern at the Academy Awards, with such winners as Anthony Hopkins, Jeremy Irons, Daniel Day Lewis and Emma Thompson. As for Steven Spielberg's casting of "Schindler's List," he "went across the water" for Liam Neeson, Ralph Plenties and Ben Kingsley. "And look who's playing Nixon — Anthony Hopkins!" Sizable problem Ricki Lake battles weight NEW YORK — Ricki Lake's problem could be the topic of her own talk show: fighting obesity. Though she's shrunk from size 24 to size eight, the woman who got her big break playing a chubby underdog in the movie "Han-spray" is still struggling. "It rules my life. It's like a mental disorder," she says in the June issue of "Out," a gay- oriented magazine. "But I've been conquering it. For the first time, I actually like my body." Lake notes that she lost 12 pounds to play the lead this summer opposite Shirley MacLaine in the upcoming movie "Mrs. Winter bourne." No Pryor restraint Richard unloads in book NEW YORK — Readers aren't likely to burst out laughing reading Richard Pryor's autobiography. In the frank reView of his life, the comedian says that while growing up in a whorehouse in Peoria, 111., he watched his mother sleep with men, was kissed on the lips by a priest and forced to perform oral sex on a man in an alley. "I told no one. Ever," Pryor wrote about the last incident. Excerpts of "Pryor Convictions" appeared Tuesday in the New York Daily News. Pryor also writes of his many drug escapades, including an alleged request by Jackie Gleason to get him some marijuana. Betty Ford time Busey trying to get clean MALIBU, Calif. — Actor Gary Busey checked into the Betty Ford Center after being charged with felony drug possession. He was charged with possession of cocaine, as well as misdemeanor counts of possession of hallucinogenic mushrooms and marijuana and being under the influence of cocaine, said Deputy District Attorney Michael Wilson. Busey's attorney, Harland W. Braun, said the actor would surrender to police. If convicted, Busey faces a three-year sentence on the felony charge and six months to a year on each of the three misdemeanors. The 50-year-old actor, nominated for an Academy Award for the 1978 film, "The Buddy Holly Story," was hospitalized for an apparent overdose. Smoky Hill River Festival June 9,10& 11, 1995 Sunday, June 4th, the Salina Journal will again publish its annual Smoky Hill River Festival edition. This indispensable guide to three days of Festival fun will be full of information about all the festival's activities. There will be colorful maps, entertainment and event schedules, a list of mouthwatering food vendors and a bonanza of art & crafts exhibitors!
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