Denzel Dominique Whitaker was born in Torrance, Calif., on June 15, 1990, to Dale and Younalanda Whitaker. He made his acting debut at 11 in Training Day opposite his namesake, Denzel Washington, and he was subsequently directed by and co-starred with Denzel in The Great Debaters. Whitaker has also been on the big screen in The Bad Lieutenant and as the voice of Albert in The Ant Bully.

As for TV, Denzel has appeared on UPN’s “One on One” and played recurring roles in Nickelodeon’s “All That” and FOX’s “The War At Home.” His other television credits include hit shows such as “ER,” “The Suite Life of Zack and Cody” and “CSI: Crime Scene Investigation.”

In his spare time, Denzel enjoys writing screenplays, playing basketball and golf, hip-hop, dancing, digital animation and independent filmmaking. Taking a page from his sage mentors, Denzel Washington and Forest Whitaker, he aspires to be an accomplished actor/director. Here, the talented young thespian talks about his new movie, My Soul to Take, a 3-D horror flick directed by Wes Craven.


KW:
What interested you in making a horror film?
DW: It’s funny you should ask that, because I didn’t really watch horror films prior to doing My Soul to Take. What interested me was Wes Craven’s coming back to the platform of writing and directing films, which he hadn’t done in awhile, and my being cast as a blind character. Both of those aspects sort of fascinated me as an actor. I ended up having a great time filming, and I saw the film the other day and I really enjoyed it. It was amazing!

KW: One of my readers, editor/legist Patricia Turnier, was curious about what was the biggest challenge you faced in portraying this character.
DW: Number one was removing all sight, and learning how to act without using one of the five senses…. As a practice exercise, I’d usually just wear blindfolds around the house to allow my other senses to take me wherever I would like to go.

KW: One of the shopworn conventions of the horror genre is that the Black guy always dies first? Don’t tell me that happens in My Soul to Take?
DW: Wouldn’t that be giving away the film?

KW:
I suppose so. This is a 3-D film. Is there any difference in your approach to acting when a film is being shot in 3-D?
DW: No, the film that we shot was post-converted to 3-D. So, we didn’t actually shoot it in 3-D.

KW: What message do you think people will take away from the film?

DW: I guess the one message that you could take away from this film would be camaraderie, sticking together, whether in this life or in the afterlife. That’s one of the messages that hit home. But this movie is really just meant to be enjoyed for what it is by giving you the thrills that you’re looking for.

KW: Were you ever scared on the set or have any nightmares while making this film?

DW: No, the beauty of being an actor in a horror film is that you know what to expect and what’s coming. I get jumpier watching other horror films, because I don’t know what to expect.

 

Kam Williams

Special to the AFRO