Denzel Washington has never been shy about discussing his Christian faith. As The Daily Wire previously reported, he has been particularly outspoken lately, giving a conference talk to young men in September where he advised them to “stay on [their] knees,” and earlier this month telling The New York Times that he attempts to live his life in such a way that will honor God and his late grandmother. In that same interview, he encouraged columnist Maureen Dowd to read the Bible and start with the New Testament.
In an interview with Religious News Service, published December 21, he explained that his latest directorial project was part of his effort to live a God-pleasing life.
The film “A Journal For Jordan,” which stars Michael B. Jordan as an Iraq war veteran, was based on the life of real Army Sergeant Charles Monroe King, who was killed in action in 2006. His wife, former New York Times journalist Dana Canedy told the story of the journal he left behind for their then-infant son in an article that detailed her husband’s faith. That article was developed into a book that was later developed into a script that Washington came on board to direct.
RNS asked the 66-year-old Oscar winner about reports that before launching into filming, he would gather the cast and crew together for a time of prayer. Washington confirmed that he did “sometimes” do that. “I’m a believer. Dana’s a believer. So that was a part of every decision, hopefully, that I tried to make,” he said, adding, “I wanted to please God, and I wanted to please Charles, and I wanted to please Dana.”
Later in the interview, while talking about his spiritual mentors, Washington said, “I try to make sure I try to put God first in everything. I was reading something this morning in my meditation about selfishness and how the only way to true independence is complete dependence on the Almighty.”
In the interview, Canedy, too, shared how her Christian faith informed the story, saying she didn’t grow up as a regular church-goer, so had always assumed that if she lost someone close to her, she would feel angry with God. But she says that didn’t turn out to be the case:
I felt enveloped in [God’s] love and uplifted by knowing that I can get through this with my faith. There were all these signs, from the moment he died, that God was with me and Charles was with us, very specific things. Like coming home one day, three days after he died, from a military base where I had to fill out all this paperwork — we hadn’t buried him yet. And I remember walking in the door, thinking my son — who was a 6-month-old, I was holding him — suddenly he was heavy. And I thought, Charles, how am I going to do this? Please give me a sign you’re still here. And this was a time when we all had answering machines at home. I turned on the answering machine. And one of his soldiers is calling from Iraq, saying, “He gave me your phone number and made me promise that if anything ever happened to him, I would call you and tell you he loves you and you’re going to be OK.” That was God.
“A Journal for Jordan” opens in theaters Christmas Day.