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Washington in Mirror

Washington takes turn as 'everyday guy' in 'Devil'

September 28, 1995
Web posted at: 11:30 p.m. EDT

From Entertainment Correspondent Cynthia Tornquist

New York (CNN) -- Viewers are accustomed to seeing Denzel Washington playing lawyers and big time reporters. But in his latest film, Washington plays a fired factory worker.

Still from movie

Adapted from a Walter Mosley novel, "Devil in a Blue Dress" is set in Los Angeles after World War II. Washington stars as Easy Rawlins, a fired factory worker who accepts work as a private detective.

His first job is to track down a mysterious woman. In the course of looking for her, Rawlins gets caught up in a situation that leads all the way up to the mayor of the city. A small guy in the neighborhood, Rawlins soon finds himself in way over his head. At the center of everything is Daphne Monet, the beautiful woman Rawlins is hired to find.

Jennifer Beals

Jennifer Beals portrays the mysterious beauty. She describes her character as someone trying to find her place in society and in her own heart, but who will resort to unethical means to get what she wants. (140K AIFF sound or 140K WAV sound)

A love scene between Beals and Washington was shot, but later cut from the film. Viewers might be disappointed with that decision, but Washington says the scene wasn't needed to convey the story. (65K AIFF sound or 65K WAV sound)

The drama is directed by Carl Franklin from a screenplay he wrote based on Walter Mosley's book. He says he liked the novel because it was more than a detective story. Franklin says the novel was able to transform an everyday guy into a detective.

Falling in love

Franklin says although Washington reportedly commands $10 million a picture, his dedication to acting made him the right choice.

"He has not abandoned the basic principles of the work." Franklin says. "He has not allowed stardom to blind him."

"I don't live my life as an A-list," Washington says. "How does an A-list person walk around? 'Sorry I can't talk to you, I am on the A-list now.'"

The movie is produced and by TriStar Pictures, and if all goes well, moviegoers could soon see more of Washington. The studio distributing "Devil in a Blue Dress" has also optioned two other Mosley mysteries featuring Easy Rawlins, and it hopes to cast Washington in both films.

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