Denzel Washington and Mila Kunis Talk The Book of Eli
01.13.10 by Ryan
The Book of Eli's post-apocalyptic tale, which focuses on a man traveling the country in the year 2043 with the last remaining Bible, seems an unlikely one for an actor like Denzel Washington, but the Academy Award-winning actor told Coming Soon he took advice from his son, producer John David Washington, that convinced him to take the part.
He talked me into doing Training Day, American Gangster and now this one. He really got his teeth into the story. He's a very, very spiritual young man and just a unique individual. He got behind it and he wouldn't take no for an answer.
Joining Washington in his quest to keep the Bible safe is Mila Kunis, who was drawn to the character of Solara because of her strength.
Very rarely am I attracted to characters that are "woe is me." I'm not a big fan of women who are the victim and who need to be saved at all times. I don't think that's how it is in real life and I don't think that's how it should be filmed. I think that anyone, if given the right, will persevere ... I think it would be an unjust portrayal of people if you didn't let the character grow.
While Kunis admits she only "attempted" to read the Bible during production, Washington keep one with him at all times, using it as a reference.
I just worked my way through the script with [directors Allen and Albert Hughes]. ... We had the Bible there because we were always looking for quotes back and forth. I've sort of taken what I've done as a director and, in this case anyway, applied it to the screenplay, because I was really involved as a producer as well. We would sit up in my house and I would play all the parts and flesh them out ... I do a whole journal on my character. I do that for every film. He's a guy who worked at K-Mart.
Before anyone thinks that the movie is a proselytizing fable, Washington also gets to protect the book by using fighting skills taught to him by Jeff Imada, who was was a disciple of Bruce Lee's student Dan Inosanto. Washington is also quick to point out that the movie is not trying to offer a one-sided moral.
I just thought it was an interesting story. A good story. I embraced these and spiritual aspects of this story and how the quote unquote "word" can be manipulated as it is. You turn on the TV and see it all the time. You don't have to turn on the TV. You can just look. That's what I've always argued the difference between spirituality and religion is. Mankind gets a hold of it and goes, "mine is good; yours isn't." Or "I'm right, you're wrong." All that kind of stuff ... Not that this is a cautionary tale necessarily, but its been going on for thousands of years. Hopefully we're just entertainment.