As successful films go, Denzel Washington has rarely set a foot astray in his selection of projects: he’s coached in Remember The Titans, played Easy Rawlins in Devil in a Blue Dress, been the steely-eyed cop in Inside Man and proved his acting credentials in films like Safe House and Man on Fire. It was hardly surprising then, that he should be recognised as the recipient of this year’s AFI Lifetime Achievement Award.
But when it comes to one of the most memorable roles of Washington’s career – yes, there have been many – but one that continues to stand out is that of Alonzo Harris, the off-the-books narcotics detective he played in Antoine Fuqua’s 2001 Academy-winning film, Training Day. It saw Washington win the Best Actor Academy Award in 2002, while his co-star Ethan Hawke also earned a Best Supporting Actor Oscar nomination for his performance as officer Jake Hoyt, the detective taken warily under Alonzo’s wing.
The film put crime dramas on the map. Granted, audiences have always been ensorcelled by such a genre, and you need only look at the prevalence of true-crime podcasts today to see that this is a trend that refuses to die down. But as hit-and-miss as cop movies are (ahem, Paul Blart: Mall Cop), this proved to be exhilarating and worth every accolade.
Put simply, it was cinematic brilliance. Taking place across a 12-hour time period as the two detectives navigated the crime-riddled neighbourhoods of Los Angeles, the film cemented its place as a classic in the canon of Hollywood’s history. To put things in perspective, the original grossed more than $US100 million at the U.S. box office.
According to recent reports from Collider’s Jeff Sneider, a prequel to the film is currently in the works, having been penned by Nick Yarborough. The film will take place in Los Angeles in 1992, just two days before the Rodney King verdict which saw LAPD officers acquitted of charges of the brutal beating of King, a verdict that subsequently rocked the city and divided its citizens.
As Sneider suggests, the prequel will focus on a younger version of Alonzo Harris, the off-the-books narcotics detective played by Denzel Washington in the original film. The project is still in its early stages, with no director attached as of yet. It’s also unclear if Antoine Fuqua, David Ayer or producer Jeffrey Silver will be involved. While we can only speculate for the moment about who might join the cast, we will be sure to keep you updated on the news as it unfolds.