Isaiah Washington on returning to movies with ‘Blue Caprice’

Isaiah Washington is back on screens in "Blue Caprice," based on the 2002 Beltway sniper attacks. Credit: Getty Images
Isaiah Washington is back on screens in “Blue Caprice,” based on the 2002 Beltway sniper attacks.
Credit: Getty Images

Isaiah Washington talks a lot. A single, innocent question will prompt an epic response, veering from one subject to the next, answering ten questions in one foul swoop. He compares a day doing interviews for his latest film, “Blue Caprice” — a film on the 2002 Beltway sniper attacks — to therapy. Still, there was only one reference to the event that seemed to torpedo his career just as it was getting big: his allegedly dropping a homophobic remark in reference to his “Grey’s Anatomy” co-star T.R. Knight. He was whisked off the show and, after his next TV gig — “The Bionic Woman” — died a swift death, all but disappeared.

“Blue Caprice” is his alleged comeback, if a tiny one. It was made independently, with no studio money, by French director Alexandre Moors. It is not even specifically about the attacks, which don’t even start till 20 minutes are left. “We did not want it to feel like a biopic,” Washington says. “The characters are actually not John Allen Muhammad” — the ringleader of the shootings, played by Washington — “but just John Allen. He wanted to blur the lines.”

The events covered are over ten years old, but it was made to speak to our own times. “Being French, [Moors] couldn’t understand how American couldn’t get a handle on its violence, being the greatest country in the world” Washington says. “It was a metaphor for how violence is addictive to many Americans, and how easy it is to get firearms. You just go to a sporting goods store and for less than $200 they can be yours. If you make a plan to hurt someone, no one’s going to stop you.

“Not everyone’s as strong as you and I. I have my issues. I’ve been abused, I’ve been accused. The last six years people have said I have an awful axe to grind,” he says, then refers to his “Grey’s Anatomy” debacle. “But you haven’t heard from me.”

Washington has actually spent much of the last seven years abroad. After discovering he has genetic links to family in the Sierra Leone, he started making trips. He has been the chief of a small village since 2006, and has been involved in numerous humanitarian crises. He’s been at work producing a documentary called “Africans Versus African Americans,” about the disconnect between the continents’ populaces. It’s one of a handful of projects on the docket, including being a cast member on the sci-fi show “The 100” and — in a rather clear bid to atone for past deeds — the indie “Blackbird,” in which he plays the father of a gay son.

Though “Blue Caprice” was one of his big return films, his director wouldn’t let him go hog wild to make up for lost time. “His thing was ‘no acting’ — that less than less is more,” he recalls. “He didn’t want me to do anything. He just wanted me to be as normal and matter-of-fact as possible. That was extremely difficult as an actor: to do nothing and yet speak volumes.”

As for the events portrayed in the film, he remembers them more as part of a larger set of tragedies. “It was on year and a month after September 11. We were still raw,” he remembers. He had himself just lost his mother and a friend. “I thought it was the apocalypse. The terrorists are here, right in the backyard of the president of the United States. And they can’t find him?”



News
Entertainment
Sports
Lifestyle
National

Mutant worms stay sober, even on alcohol

U.S. researchers have developed "mutant worms" that do not get drunk by alcohol, a breakthrough that could lead to new treatment for people trying to quit drinking

Local

K-9 nose helps capture $150K in cocaine at…

A furry, four-legged security agent helped authorities stop an illegal cocaine shipment from sneaking past JFK customs.

National

Minnesota man asked to leave Southwest flight after…

A man and his two sons were asked to leave a Southwest Airlines flight after the man sent a tweet complaining about being treated rudely by a gate agent.

National

Man sues hospital after surprise penis amputation

An Alabama man who went in to a hospital last month for a circumcision awoke after surgery to find his penis had been amputated, his lawyer said on Thursday.

Movies

Review: Brett Ratner's big 'Hercules' movie is small…

The latest "Hercules," starring Dwayne Johnson as the half-god beefcake of Greek myth, strips its hero and tale of most of its fantastical elements.

Arts

Scientists recreate world's smallest Monet copy

Scientists have reproduced a famous Impressionist painting using nano-printing, to create what has been described as the world's smallest work of art. Reworked at the…

Television

Jerry Seinfeld is ambidextrous, and other Reddit AMA…

See some of the weirder highlights of Jerry Seinfeld's recent Reddit AMA.

Going Out

Grab a pedestrian and start dancing at What…

As a New Yorker, I’ve mastered the art of focusing my gaze straight ahead. Though it occasionally piques my interest, the absurdities that play out…

U.S. Soccer

Orlando City takes shot at NYCFC over Frank…

Orlando City reminded the world how big a signing Brazilian star Kaka earlier this month with a photo of Kaka mobbed by fans juxtaposed against Lampard.

NBA

Jeremy Lin says 'Linsanity' is over as he…

Jeremy Lin lit up the NBA two years ago with his play for the Knicks but he has no desire to recreate "Linsanity" in his new career with the Lakers.

NFL

2014 NFL Fantasy Football Top 100 overall player…

2014 NFL Fantasy Football Top 100 overall player rankings

U.S. Soccer

NYCFC announce signing of Frank Lampard

The tease of a big signing Thursday by new MLS side NYCFC ended up being one rumored for weeks. England midfielder Frank Lampard agreed to…

Tech

Forget Wi-Fi: Li-Fi could be the future

Li-Fi technology – developed by Mexican company Sisoft – is wireless internet connectivity using specialized LED light.

Tech

Weather app Climendo might be the most accurate…

The wait for a truly accurate weather forecast could finally be over thanks to a nifty new app called Climendo.

Tech

Napkin Table puts focus off the phone and…

Michael Jan, a design student at Tunghai University in Taiwan, has invented a serviette-picnic blanket hybrid called the Napkin Table.

Style

Essie's new Color Boutique

Essie launches high-tech kiosks at major airports and malls across the country.