Washington plays the titular Israel, an idealistic, Los Angeles-based defense attorney and activist. Israel’s life and work are challenged when he is recruited to a new firm full of powerful, wealthy lawyers.
Denzel Washington takes up the role of Roman Israel in his follow up to last year’s Academy Award nominated “Fences.” The two-time Oscar winner also directed that film. In addition to his wins for “Glory” and “Training Day,” the celebrated actor has five additional acting nominations.
Colin Farrell stars opposite Washington as the lawyer who recruits Israel to his firm. This has been a busy year for him. Over the summer, Farrell starred in the Sofia Coppola film “The Beguiled.” In addition, he stars in the latest Yorgos Lanthimos film, “The Killing of a Sacred Deer.” The last collaboration between the actor and director earned Farrell a Golden Globe nomination for “The Lobster.”
Dan Gilroy wrote and directed “Roman J. Israel, Esq.” He received a screenplay nomination for his directorial debut, “Nightcrawler.” In addition, Gilroy penned the scripts for “The Bourne Legacy” and “Kong: Skull Island.”
The director told Entertainment Weekly that he was very specific in casting Washington for the lead role:
“Roman is defined by his belief in something greater than himself. He’s a man of faith. He has this common, universal humanity to him that he believes. Denzel, if you research Denzel, he’s literally a man of faith. So it was never going to be hard for the audience to buy into the idea that the actor playing the part believes in the things Roman is doing. I think one of the reasons why Denzel dissolves into the character is because they’re so close to each other in so many ways. Denzel embodies the idea of a man living his life on terms that are based on a cause — going toward something. That’s why I really wrote it for him.”
“Roman J. Israel, Esq.” will open in limited release on November 3, and expand the following week.