The Great Debaters on Oprah
"We learn to do by doing," is another piece of Denzel's advice. "He would trust our research and just throw us in there and say, 'Do what you prepared yourself to do.' And it helped us a lot," Nate says.
Denzel Whitaker says he, too, wrote down his director's advice. "I just love to soak up his knowledge," he says. "Denzel, he just has knowledge. There's so much to be said. And when you listen to him speak, you just better soak it all up, because it comes in handy in life."
Jurnee says Denzel's generosity with knowledge as a director and actor is a rare thing in a person so famous. "Someone who has as many awards as he has, they could easily walk into a room with those awards on their shoulders, really try to intimidate you," she says. "That wasn't him at all."
While Denzel's advice and quotes inspired the cast, Forest provided Denzel Whitaker with another set of lessons to draw on. "Forest taught me how to really grab and dig into the character, find the undertones," he says. "Between the two, there was definitely a mentorship, a father-ship, and I'm just proud to be a part of this."