Denzel Washington has told New York Magazine's Vulture that he turned down the offer of a stuntman when it came to the brutal waterboarding scenes in his new movie Safe House. The actor explained that although he was terrified, he opted to go through with the scenes himself and the result was far from comfortable: "It's strange. You can't breathe in, because the water comes in," said Washington. "It's filling up your mouth. And that was just one time for a short time. Imagine having that done for 20, 30 seconds? You will give up the answers! You may not necessarily tell the truth, but you will tell [your captors] whatever they want to hear."
The film's director, Daniel Espinosa was full of praise for the actor: "I went up to Denzel and told him, 'Time to go, now is the moment where the stunt guy kicks in,' and he looked at me and he said, 'Let's go.' 'Are you sure?' 'I'm sure.' And I was terrified, but I let him go and I had to watch him do it." Robert Patrick, who actually carries out the waterboarding in the film, went on to say that he was impressed with the length of time that Denzel Washington endured the controversial torture method. "Some of the guys we got, the Taliban guys, they only hung in there for eighteen seconds.Denzel lasted five; that's pretty damn good."
Washington's co-star, Ryan Reynolds (who reportedly gave Denzel a black eye during the filming of the movie) was also complimentary of his dedication to the film, saying "He went all out for this movie. I would definitely not like to be waterboarded. It was intense. Disturbing. I had sympathetic pain. I always get sympathetic pain. I wish I didn't. I felt like I was drowning." Safe House debuts in American cinemas today (February 10, 2012) and opens in the UK on February 24, 2012.