Denzel Washington Reminded of His Mom As He Hears Her Words Again —This Time From One of His 'Prayer Warriors'

Denzel Washington and Viola Davis reprise their Broadway roles as Troy and Rose Maxson in the film, 'Fences.'(Paramount Pictures)

"I've been praying for you for 35 years."

Denzel Washington was stunned upon hearing those words from a woman, a new acquaintance and one of his "prayer warriors" who he met during the filming of his latest movie, "Fences."

The Oscar-winning actor reacted this way because it felt like déjà vu, considering that those were just about the same words that his mother Lennis told him in his younger years, The Christian Post reported.

Washington brought up the subject during a recent press conference where he talked about his role in the remake of the 1983 play by American playwright August Wilson.

"Fences," which is based on the Pulitzer Prize-winning play of the same name, tells the story of a father struggling with race relations and his life circumstances in the 1950s.

During the filming of the movie in the same Pittsburgh neighbourhood where Wilson lived, Washington came to know and endeared himself with some of the residents in the area who watched the filming from their homes.

Some of the residents cooked meals for the cast members. One man even made it a point to offer Washington a cup of coffee every morning. Others would just pull out their lawn chairs and sit and watch the filming of some of the scenes.

Among these people, Washington singled out two women who truly touched his heart and who became his "prayer warriors."

"A woman on the corner, she was watching me. She made her house a quiet place of prayer for me, and I'd go in there when things were getting overwhelming and just take a breath. Sometimes I'd just have a prayer with her," Washington said.

That particular home wasn't the only place where he was able to find sanctuary.

Washington also found sanctuary in the home of another woman who told him that she and her family had been covering him in prayer for years.

"There was one woman in particular. Even before we started shooting I met her and I came and said, 'Oh thank you for coming out.' She said, 'We've been watching you for a long time.' I said 'Well, pray for me.' [And then] she said, 'Denzel, I've been praying for you for 35 years, my family and I," he said. "We've been watching, we know how hard it is."

Washington was stunned, realising that those were the very same words spoken by his mother to him.

"You just never know who's praying for you," he said. "I needed all of those prayers and I needed all of that support. We all needed it. The people were just wonderful!"

To thank the neighbourhood for their graciousness, Washington hosted a screening of "Fences" in Pittsburgh.

Along with Washington, the movie stars Viola Davis, Stephen Henderson and Mykelti Williamson. Washington, Davis, Williamson and Henderson all reprise their roles from the Broadway version of the play performed in 2010.

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