He might sound like the namesake of his Oscar®-winning co-stars, but Denzel Whitaker says his famous name is strictly a coincidence. "My dad's name is Dell, and so my mom wanted something with a d, something to resemble it," he says. "She just landed on the name Denzel."
Denzel and Nate's audition for their dramatic roles proved they had acting chops—but it took a physical toll! During their callback, an intense scene from the script got a little too heated. "During the audition, we were fighting. There's emotions raging all over. Nate actually busted my lip open, and I broke the buttons off of his shirt," Denzel says.
The pair's intensity paid off—they landed the roles. "Then I was bawling. I was crying all over the place, and [I held] a Coke can to my lip so there wasn't much swelling," Denzel Whitaker says. "I'm running downstairs, telling my mom, 'Mom, I got the part! I got the part!' She's like, 'Who did this to you? Who busted your lip? I'm going after him.'"
Another big surprise came when Denzel learned Forest was going to play his dad. "I was just like, 'Here goes. The press is going to have fun with this,' because of the last name," he says. "But I was so excited to work with two Oscar-winning actors."