Stream Denzel Washington’s Favorite Performance

By TeeJay Small | Published

Roman J Isreal, Esq.

As one of the greatest leading men of an entire generation, Denzel Washington has had his pick of the litter for incredible roles. Denzel Washington’s favorite role of all time, however, came as a shock to many fans recently when it was revealed to be 2017’s Roman J. Israel, Esq., which is currently available to stream on Starz. Washington leads the Dan Gilroy-directed crime drama wonderfully, though the film has clearly not reached the iconic status of many of his other, more popular films.

Denzel Washington recently shared his favorite role was in Roman J. Israel, Esq., a legal thriller now streaming on Starz.

Despite the Training Day star’s extensive history of crafting incredible cinema, Denzel Washington’s favorite role falls squarely on the shoulders of Roman J. Israel, Esq.‘s title character, an idealistic defense attorney whose life becomes completely upended after his mentor suddenly suffers a fatal heart attack. ‘

Washington has expressed reverence for the role in a number of interviews and media appearances in the years since Roman J. Israel, Esq.‘s release, explaining that he welcomed the challenge of portraying such a deep and nuanced character, in contrast to bombastic roles he has portrayed in the past.

As Denzel Washington’s favorite role, you can imagine the incredible depth that the character of Roman J. Israel carries. Israel is a civil rights advocate and defense attorney who is canonically on the autism spectrum.

Roman J Israel, Esq.

For many neurotypical Hollywood actors, this challenge could pose a significant problem, as fans expect to see a character on the spectrum presented honestly without being made into a caricature or simplified into a small set of quirks.

For Denzel Washington, however, the challenge is a welcome obstacle, allowing the iconic actor to flex his superior skills on the big screen in his favorite role to date.

To carefully bring the character to life, Washington cited taking inspiration from people in his own life, such as the son of a close friend who is also on the spectrum, providing the actor with plenty of real-world empathy to draw from when performing for the camera.

The film which allowed Denzel Washington to embody his favorite role follows Roman J. Israel as he prepares briefs and files paperwork in a small two-partner law office in Los Angeles. Israel rarely makes any more than $500 a week doing primarily paralegal work, but he finds great solace in solving problems, sorting papers, and avoiding the interpersonal aspects of life as a defense attorney.

For Denzel Washington, however, the challenge is a welcome obstacle, allowing the iconic actor to flex his superior skills on the big screen in his favorite role to date.

After his boss and mentor, William Jackson drops dead from a heart attack, Israel is suddenly forced to perform all of his duties as an attorney, including facing the judge during trials, dealing head on with clients, and arguing cases before a jury.

Roman J. Israel, Esq.

The many multifaceted angles of the character quickly begin to demonstrate why this is Denzel Washington’s favorite role. After agreeing to get swallowed up by a much larger firm, Israel soon realizes he is a poor fit for the massive corporate partnership and begins to take matters of a high-intensity murder trial into his own hands.

Before long, Roman J. Israel falls into a well of despair, becoming everything he once stood against. His inability to function in a large corporate environment leads him down a path of white-collar crime in the name of material luxuries. Allowing Denzel Washington to revel in the many layers of his nuanced performance, marking his portrayal of Roman as his favorite role.

It might be Denzel Washington’s favorite role, but Roman J. Israel, Esq. failed to earn back its production budget of $22 million at the box office.

Despite it being Denzel Washington’s favorite role, Roman J. Israel, Esq. failed to achieve mainstream success, garnering a middling 54 percent rating on the review aggregate site Rotten Tomatoes.

The film only managed to eke out $13 million at the global box office against an estimated production budget of over $22 million, marking the film as a flop. Of course, Washington isn’t concerned with the critics or the numbers associated with the film, as he feels that portraying Roman J. Israel was an invaluable life experience.

If you’re looking to catch the film which Denzel Washington has such a special place for in his heart, you can catch him performing in his favorite role as Roman J. Israel, Esq. on Starz now. Washington is currently attached to appear in both Gladiator 2 and The Equalizer 3 in the coming year, providing more incredible depth through his range of inimitable emotional performances.