Katie Couric was left “shaken” after a 2004 Dateline interview with The Manchurian Candidate cast became “uncomfortable.” The longtime journalist, 63, said on the April 27 episode of Everything Iconic with Danny Pellegrino podcast that star Denzel Washington acted in a “weirdly uncalled for” manner when she began asking questions about politics. The 2004 general election between President George W. Bush and John Kerry was just months away, and the United States was embroiled in wars in Iraq and Afghanistan. The Manchurian Candidate is a deeply political film about the rise of power of a corrupt politician, to put it succinctly.
“I just remember leaving it and thinking, ‘God’… I don’t think I said anything wrong, I don’t know what happened,” Katie said on the podcast. “I love [Denzel]. I admire him so much, he’s one of my favorite actors, but I remember walking out feeling kind of shaken that he had gone after me in a way that was completely weirdly uncalled for.” The interview with Denzel, co-star Meryl Streep, and director Jonathan Demme started off well enough. The trouble began when Katie asked Denzel, 65, if he agreed that “Hollywood folks should stick to acting.” He replied, “I don’t know what Hollywood folks are, first of all. Hollywood is a town that has some stars on the sidewalk. I don’t know anybody from there. So, I don’t — that’s like saying– calling you a type of folks. I’m not a Hollywood folk. I don’t know who they are.”
Katie continued to press him about his political views and tried to salvage the question, responding, “OK, all right, well, let me rephrase the question. Are you one of those people that —” Denzel cut her off. “Ah, there you go. Am I one of those people? Hmmm, isn’t that interesting?” Katie told him to not “make my questions loaded when they’re not,” and stop. “No, don’t stop. I heard what you just said. ‘Am I one of those people?’ No, I’m not,” Denzel answered, also taking umbrage with Katie labeling him as an actor.
“No, I’m not that either. I’m a human being. My job is acting.” The two went back and forth for some time, but everything eventually worked out, Katie said on Everything Iconic. “I think [Denzel] must have been having a really bad day, because he later wrote a big check to my colon cancer organization, which I thought was super sweet.” You can read the full transcript of the 2004 Dateline interview HERE.
HollywoodLife reached out to Denzel Washington’s rep for comment, but did not hear back as of press time.