Denzel Washington was "energised" making 'The Little Things' alongside Rami Malek and Jared Leto.

The 66-year-old actor portrays Joe 'Deke' Deacon in the psychological crime thriller and he admitted working with the two younger fellow Oscar winners made him up his game on set.

He said: "It absolutely energised me, having those two on the film.

"I'm like, 'Uh-oh. I'd better read the script'. Obviously joking!"

One scene in the movie sees Denzel's character -who he described as having "a lot of haunting darkness that follows him like a cloud" - have to climb up a drainpipe and run across a rooftop and he admitted he wanted to pass that on to one of his younger co-stars.

He told the Daily Mail newspaper's Baz Bamigboye: "There comes a time in one's life where you're just not the guy running across the rooftop.

"I said to Rami, 'You go run across the rooftop!' "

However, the veteran actor agreed to do the scene, much to director John Lee Hancock's surprise, though he thinks it was right that the star did, even if he wasn't at ease.

He said: "I kept expecting Denzel to say we're doing the scene in a different way.

"Hopefully it was age-appropriately awkward. Because he's not 25-year-old Joe Deacon — or 25-year-old Denzel Washington. So he had to be seen to struggle up there."

The 'Fences' actor thinks it's hilarious he's regarded as a sex symbol.

He laughed: "I've finally made it as an over-the-hill fat guy...and they still love me! Either that, or they just feel sorry for me."

Meanwhile, Denzel also praised his late 'Ma Rainey's Black Bottom' co-star Chadwick Boseman, who died following a secret battle with cancer last August.

He said: "[He was a] brave man. He kept it to himself, and didn't complain. [Even though] he knew he wasn't going to make it."