Denzel: OCD is driven by fear

Denzel Washington thinks OCD is about “handling” things, not controlling them.

Denzel Washington thinks obsessive behaviour is caused by fear.

The actor takes on the iconic role of Robert McCall in the movie The Equalizer, which is loosely based on the ‘80s TV show. It’s about a former black ops commando who faked his own death to lead a quiet life, but makes a return to the fore to help a young girl.

There are many surprising things about Denzel’s McCall, one of which is that in the picture Robert suffers from OCD.

“I read a book called I Never Wash My Hands - yeah, it's an interesting title. It talks about, 'obsession' is a big word," the actor told "You can be obsessed with a lot of things. It's just that, OCD seems that people know certain things; people count or wash their hands or things like that. You could be obsessed with microphones or phones or chairs. I don't know what makes it happen, but it's just obsessive behaviour... I think it's the fear. You fear something, so you try to handle it. I don't know if 'control' is the word for it.”

Many TV shows have been transformed for the big screen, but unlike other actors Denzel didn’t turn to the small screen version of The Equalizer for inspiration. He can vaguely remember some things it was famous for, but was keen to put his own stamp on the anti-hero.

“I actually didn't look at the original. Well, maybe I did. When did it come on, in the '80s?," he queried. "Yeah, I remember it, but I don't remember watching it. British guy, I remember that. Dressed well, snappy dressing. But I didn't look at it leading up to this, in preparation for this.”

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