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EXCLUSIVE: Virgil Williams Talks His Directorial Debut and His Next Gig With Denzel Washington


On the latest episode of CIRCUIT BREAKER: THE EXTRAS,” AwardsCircuit’s Editor-in-Chief Clayton Davis spoke to Academy Award nominee Virgil Williams (“Mudbound“) about a number of film-related topics, including his upcoming directorial debut, his favorite Westerns and the timelessness of Salma Hayek.

Williams is best known for his work as a screenwriter, having worked on several hit television shows including “24,” “Criminal Minds” and “ER” early in his career before penning his first feature script “Mudbound” along with director Dee Rees. His tremendous work earned him an Academy Award nomination in Adapted Screenplay in 2017.

When asked about the possibility of moving into directing, Williams revealed that it’s the next step for him:

“I’m at the beginning of that transformative part of my career. I just finished what will hopefully be my directorial debut. It’s a Western.”

Williams mentions Clint Eastwood’s “Unforgiven” and the Coen Brothers’ “True Grit” among his favored Westerns, with his next project set to be the latest in the genre that has stood more than a century in the cinematic landscape.

As a writer for many years, Williams stresses the importance of being patient and having a routine as a screenwriter, as opposed to trying to work as quickly as possible to get a script done.

“It’s really about a brick a day. If you can do that for a consecutive amount of days, the consecutive piece is the important piece and you’re going to have a building.”

During the interview, Williams credits director John Landis for his breakthrough job in the industry, having been cast to play an orphan in the classic “The Blues Brothers” some 40-years ago. In a fascinating and uplifting anecdote, Williams spoke about thanking Landis at an Oscar luncheon during his “Mudbound” campaign. He shares “If you don’t do that, I’m not in this room,” Williams reveals he said to Landis.

When discussing his passion for cinema through the years, Williams gives mention to Academy Award nominated actress Salma Hayek and how she has amazed him for many years, in particular her “From Dusk Till Dawn” snake-dance, “She could’ve been a movie star in the 40s, 50s, 60s.”

Williams also discusses his family dynamic and history as well as the importance of being comfortable with identity, before concluding with some important words of wisdom during these troubling and difficult times:

“Be good to each other.”

The screenwriter also shared about Denzel Washington’s next directorial project “Journal to Jordan,” which Williams is a credited writer, and is set to shoot in October.

Williams is the third guest to have appeared on the live interview series “Circuit Breaker: The Extras” alongside actor Paul Walter Hauser and producer Todd Lieberman. The full interview with the brilliant and passionate Virgil Williams can be found below:

What did you think of our interview with Academy Award nominee Virgil Williams? Let us know in the comments below!

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Written by Bradley Weir

Recently graduated from the UK with a degree in film. Passionate about all things movies, especially the awards season!


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