Huffpost Entertainment

Director Denzel Washington: Clint Eastwood As Hero

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"Clint Eastwood's my hero," Denzel Washington says. "That's the model. He's the guy." At this stage of his career, the two-time Oscar winner is most interested in going the actor-turned-director route, citing George Clooney, Sean Penn and Ben Affleck as examples. "There's a generation of us now that are moving in that direction."

He likes the idea of staying behind the camera, rather than pulling double duty as filmmaker and performer as he did in his 2002 directorial debut "Antwone Fisher" and now "The Great Debaters."

But not so fast.

Washington wanted to stay behind the camera for his latest film, but Harvey Weinstein, whose company put up the money along with Oprah Winfrey's Harpo Films, wanted to ensure the movie had the star power of the strikingly handsome, 6-foot leading man _ and upped the budget to have him in front of camera too.