Why Denzel Washington and Jared Leto Avoided Meeting Before Shooting Their First Scene for ‘The Little Things’

Denzel W

Denzel Washington’s latest film The Little Things lands in Australian cinemas on February 18, but the crime thriller has already been enticing North American audiences. 

The film, which also stars Rami Malek and Jared Leto, debuted to $4.8 million over the last weekend in January, simultaneously premiering in cinemas and on HBO Max. The figure is a solid revenue pull for a film in COVID times as many theatres across America continue to operate at severely reduced capacities or remain closed entirely.

Written and directed by John Lee Hancock, The Little Things, tells the story of Kern County Deputy Sheriff Joe “Deke” Deacon (Washington) who is sent to Los Angeles for what should be a quick evidence-gathering assignment. The past five years have seen Kern living a solitary life, after a tumultuous period of his life that saw him endure suspension from duty, divorce and triple bypass heart surgery within six months. 

Returning to LA, Deacon quickly becomes embroiled in the search for a killer who is terrorizing the city alongside Sheriff Department Sergeant Jim Baxter (Malek) who is impressed with Deacon’s cop instincts and unofficially engages his help. 

But as they track the killer, Baxter is unaware that the investigation is dredging up echoes of Deke’s past, uncovering disturbing secrets that could threaten more than his case.

Meanwhile, Leto plays chief suspect Albert Sparma — a soft-spoken electrical repairman and self-described crime buff and a character Leto has compared to The Joker from 2016’s Suicide Squad

Leto, Malek and Washington in ‘The Little Things’

In an interview with USA Today, Washington explained that he and Leto purposely avoided meeting each other before shooting in order to help them keep the tension high during the first scene they shot.

“I stayed away from him. He stayed away from me, respectfully so,” said Washington. “We’d bow or nod from across the highway. Literally, one day we nodded across the highway from each other.”

Washington also revealed that he adopted a rather indulgent diet and gave up exercising in order to put on the weight he felt his character needed to carry. 

“There was a Joe Deacon diet. The sacrifices I make for my character,” said Washington. “Gaining the weight, that’s a piece of cake. Literally a piece of cake. Eating big late. It’s not healthy, but it works. Milkshakes were my friend. Ice cream was my very good friend.”

Speaking fondly of his co-stars, Washington said, “There’s a whole crop of these younger actors, and it’s fascinating to watch them coming up behind me. Unfortunately, we lost one with Chadwick Boseman, but Jared is one, obviously, and Rami is doing great work. It’s inspiring and like a wake-up call. It’s like, I have to get my act together here. These guys ain’t playing.”

Don’t miss The Little Things in cinemas February 18, with preview screenings from February 12-14 at HOYTS. Book your tickets now!

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