In “Unstoppable,” Denzel Washington plays a veteran railway engineer chasing after a runaway train with toxic cargo. Surprisingly, it’s loosely based on a true story — although Washington admits the Hollywood version doesn’t lack any fancy explosions.
Metro sat down with the Oscar-winner to talk high- speed chases, working- class struggles and why Tom Cruise is insane.
Like your character, you had a humble upbringing. Is the film a tribute to the American working class?
It quickly became a tribute to the people we met where we filmed, in Ohio, in the west of Pennsylvania and Virginia. Some of these regions are deprived, with a high unemployment rate, where people who have a job are working very hard to keep it. “Unstoppable” is not only about a train running out of control. It’s also about problems the U.S. is having right now.
How far is the film from the real story?
Both [co-star] Chris Pine and I actually followed the train going backwards at full speed and then hooked on to it. I think the train in real life wasn’t going as fast as in the movie, and I'm not sure that they had to run on a roof with so many explosions going off. This was pure entertainment. [Laughs]
Do you perform your own stunts à la Tom Cruise?
Have you seen him in Dubai dangling outside the world’s tallest skyscraper? I'll never do such a thing! He’s crazy! The highest I can climb is onto the roof of a train. If he enjoys climbing mountains or riding big motorcycles, that’s good for him.