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
Local

FDNY debuts new fire simulator for blazes at…

The New York City Fire Department christened its newest, state-of-the-art, custom-built simulator at its training academy on Randall's Island Tuesday.

Local

Bronx cop saves baby who stopped breathing

A Bronx police officer is credited with saving the life of a 2-month-old baby who stopped breathing Tuesday morning. Police Officer Johnny Castillo, 38, was…

Local

Brewer celebrates Women's Equality Day with voter pledge

Manhattan Borough President Gale Brewer celebrated Women’s Equality Day Tuesday by pledging to register at least five women voters before the Oct. 10 deadline. Brewer…

Local

NYPD looking for lewd D train rider

The NYPD is enlisting the public’s help to find a man they say performed a lewd act on the D train Saturday evening. The incident…

Television

'Pretty Little Liars' recap: Season 5, Episode 12,…

If you've wondered whether Ali and Bethany knew each other, you got an answer tonight: Yes, and in a very tangled way. But many lingering…

Entertainment

Cymbals Eat Guitars Have Everything to 'LOSE'

At its most basic level, a rock band can be thought of as a family, a group of people selflessly devoted to a cause. When…

Entertainment

"Bachelor in Paradise" recap: Episode 4, 'Week Four'

Some things are hard to watch in a “Human Centipede” sort of way. Other things in an “American History X” sort of way. Does “Bachelor…

Movies

Fall Movie Preview: 10 films to see this…

Despite being awards season, the next four months bring a glut of remakes, rehashes and sequels. Here are 10 that should be better worth your time.

College

When are 2014 college football playoffs? (Schedule, date,…

When and where are 2014 college football playoffs? A look at the schedule, date, TV, time for the semi-finals at championship game.

NFL

Dimitri Patterson suspended only for rest of preseason…

Dimitri Patterson ended up getting just a slap on the wrist.

Sports

Eugenie Bouchard excited for 'rowdy' fans at US…

Eugenie Bouchard is sure to endear herself to New York's tennis faithful as she tries to win her first grand slam title across the next two weeks.

MLB

MLB Power Rankings: Angels and A's still at…

MLB Power Rankings: Angels and A's still at top, Nationals climb

Wellbeing

Who is having the most orgasms?

  Single lesbians report having orgasms more often than heterosexual women but both gay and straight men still come out on top of the climax…

Home

Jonathan Adler shares his tips for a great…

Jonathan Adler took a break from boogie boarding at his beach house to tell us how to keep that Labor Day party festive.

Travel

Most popular Labor Day weekend destinations

Priceline.com released its Top 20 destinations for the end of summer, including Labor Day weekend. If you’re heading to any of these spots, expect a…

Wellbeing

Working your way to type 2 diabetes: Job…

When it comes to type 2 diabetes, a stressful job can be as risky for your health as a bad diet and no exercise. A…