How To Get Denzel Washington To Laugh, Featuring Mark Wahlberg

'2 Guns' actors dish to MTV News how they got their start in comedy.

Denzel Washington isn’t exactly known for this sense of humor. Two-time Academy Award winner certainly has made more than his fair share of wise cracks throughout his career, but an out-right comedy isn’t Washington’s style.

So when he signed on for “2 Guns,” an action comedy out in theaters Friday (August 2), Washington found himself with a co-star who was determined to make him laugh.

“He’s got a great sense of humor,” Mark Wahlberg said during a recent interview with MTV News about Washington. “It’s just that he is known more for his serious acting, so when he smiles, it’s such a beautiful thing to experience as an audience member.”

Wahlberg said that convincing Washington to do “2 Guns” was a matter of good timing and material. “I feel like we got lucky. We shot for the stars,” Wahlberg said. “We hit the one that we really wanted and got Denzel in the movie. It was after ‘Flight,’ and he wanted to do something lighter, and he responded to the material.”

Both actors spoke about how important having a partner was in attempting a job to comedy. Wahlberg made his big break into the genre with “The Other Guys,” a movie that teamed him with Will Ferrell and prepared him for “Ted” and eventually “2 Guns.”

“We both had the same fears, going into comedy,” Wahlberg said. “I wanted to work with somebody who I was comfortable with and was great at it, but also not the dark, weird comic guy, who’s trying to be funny on set but really serious and unapproachable off camera. When I worked with Will [Ferrell], then I got really comfortable with it. Trying it as a serious actor, if it doesn’t work, it’s a problem.”

For Washington, tackling something new was all the attraction he needed to the project. “You find your way. That’s a part of the excitement is the unknown. Is this going to work? Can I be funny? How do I do that?” he said. “Looking at the material with more humor, I was saying, ‘No, I want to do a two-hander. I’m not going out there by myself,’ because I’m not sure I know. That actually makes you sharper, makes you prepare more, wakes you up. At this point, for me and my life, career, age, whatever, that was a good thing, to have to be ready.”


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