This is the text version of the YouTube video "How A Prophecy About Denzel…".
Click on a phrase of interest to open a video of that moment.
Mr. WASHINGTON: I had never thought about being an actor. I was 22, I was a senior in college. I started at 20 as a junior in college. WINFREY: I had something like that. When I was 22, I was in Baltimore working on a television show there, and Wentley Phipps, you know, the gospel singer Wentley Phipps? Mr. WASHINGTON: OK. WINFREY: ...said to me backstage one day the same thing that the woman Ruth had said to you, that there are bigger things ahead for you, you're going to be speaking to millions of people. Mr. WASHINGTON: Mm-hmm. WINFREY: And, you know, I didn't necessarily believe it, but I just thought, `Maybe there is something to that.' And there was a woman named Ruth who said that to you. Mr. WASHINGTON: Ruth Green. I was sitting in my mother's beauty shop looking in a mirror, and I see this woman through the mirror, she's behind me under the dryer. And every time I look up, she's like... (stares)...so I'm kind of looking away, you know. Every time I looked up, she was just like this. WINFREY: Looking at you. Mr. WASHINGTON: And she said, `Somebody, give me a piece of paper.' And she wrote `Prophecy,' she couldn't even spell it. She wrote `Prophecy,' and she wrote 1975 and she wrote the number 28. I'm born on the 28th, my wife is born on the 28th, my first son was born on the 28th. I don't know if it means any-- I don't know why she wrote 28. But she wrote `Prophecy,' and she said--she says, `Boy, you're going to speak to millions of people,' she says, `You're going to travel the world and you're going to speak to millions of people.' And I asked my mother, I said, `Well, who is this woman?' WINFREY: The gift of prophecy. Mr. WASHINGTON: She said, `Well, she's one of the oldest church members in town and she's known to have a gift of prophecy.' WINFREY: And she had that gift. Mr. WASHINGTON: And she wrote down `1975,' she wrote `Prophecy.' So I thought, so am I supposed to become a preacher? I asked my pastor, `Should I become a preacher?' He's like, `No, no, you're doing good right where you are.' He says, `You are a preacher.' So I have always looked at him-- I'm saying all this to say, I have always looked at what I do as-- not preaching, but maybe as my pulpit, you know, to--the roles that I've played, I looked at the spiritual evolution of those characters, not just the characters, people like Reuben "Hurricane" Carter, Malcolm X... WINFREY: Yeah. Yeah. Mr. WASHINGTON: ...Steven Biko. WINFREY: But you deserved an Oscar for Hurricane Carter. Mr. WASHINGTON: I infused that into--even "Training Day," the first thing I wrote on that script was `The wages of sin is death.'