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Denzel Washington Quit Booze for Flight

The actor went 45 days sober "to stay disciplined" for his role as an alcoholic airline pilot.

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"We've all tied one on," says Washington.
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By May Wilkerson

11/01/12

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In a non-method acting approach, Denzel Washington says he actually stopped drinking altogether for the full 45 days of filming his latest role as an alcoholic airline pilot. In the much-hyped Flight, which hits theaters tomorrow, the 57-year-old actor plays a pilot who is lauded for navigating a plane to safety during a storm—until it's discovered that he was actually drunk throughout the incident. The actor is no stranger to hitting the bottle. He told Essence in 1986 that he was quitting drinking for good, but now admits that he only "semi-quit" during the '80s. "We've all tied one on,” says the Oscar-winning actor. “But if I had been drinking while I was shooting, it’d be harder to stay disciplined, just to get up in the morning. You are a little more hung over, grouchier." Washington says the film was "an excellent opportunity, and a really good story. So it was something I wanted to do right." However, even practicing sobriety to enact his character's excruciating struggle with addiction didn't turn him off the sauce for good: "I haven't given it up forever."

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