Katie Couric reveals details of a 2004 interview with Denzel Washington that left her ‘shaken’

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Katie Couric dished on how Denzel Washington left her “shaken” and uncomfortable” during a 2004 interview with the actor about the film “The Manchurian Candidate.”

Appearing recently on the “Everything Iconic with Danny Pellegrino” podcast, the journalist recalled Washington’s reaction when she asked whether “Hollywood folks should stick to acting?”

“I don’t know what Hollywood folks are, first of all,” Washington replied. “Hollywood is a town that has some stars on the sidewalk. I don’t know anybody from there. So, I don’t – that’s like saying – calling you a ‘type’ of folks. I’m not a Hollywood folk. I don’t know who they are.”

The remarks begin at the 18:32 minute mark of the video below:

In an attempt to rephrase the question, Couric asked: “Are you one of those people that –”

“Ah, there you go,” Washington interjected. “Am I one of those people? Hmmm, isn’t that interesting?”

“Oh, stop, stop, stop,” Couric protested.

“No, don’t stop. I heard what you just said. ‘Am I one of those people?’ No, I’m not,” Washington replied.

Rejected twice, Couric stubbornly tried to make a third attempt, only to be rejected again.

“No, are you an actor who would rather not —” she began, before being cut off by Washington, who was determined to not allow her to pigeonhole him as an elitist Hollywood actor.

“No, I’m not that either,” he interrupted. “I’m a human being. My job is acting.”

Couric characterized the exchange as Washington having “jumped all over me.”

“I think he totally misconstrued a question I asked and kind of jumped all over me,” she told host Danny Pellegrino. “It was so uncomfortable because he was doing it with Meryl Streep…”

Screengrab Dateline NBC

Actress Meryl Streep was also present during the interview — she played the role of Sen. Eleanor Shaw in the film, a manipulative mother who pushed her son to become president.

Couric recalled that she left the interview thinking, “I don’t think I said anything wrong… I don’t know what happened.”

“I think he must have been having a really bad day because he later wrote a really big check to my colon cancer organization, which I thought was super sweet,” she added.

“I love him, I admire him so much. He’s one of my favorite actors,” Couric said. “But I remember walking out and feeling really kind of shaken that he had kind of gone after me in a way that was completely, weirdly uncalled for.”

A comment Washington once made about his career may help explain the stance he took with Couric.

“The one thing I’m the most happy about in terms of my career is the fact that I got there, by the grace of God first of all, but short of that I got there just by working hard. Not partying with the right people, not compromising myself in any way or cutting any kind of deals, just by working hard. Just by plugging along — sawing wood as I like to call it,” he said.

Either way, social media users weren’t buying the victim ploy Couric was selling, as seen in the responses to the story from Twitter:


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