Isaiah Washington on faith-based films and how having a family has changed his choice of acting roles


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Isaiah Washington is opening up about how having a family has affected his acting career.

In an interview with Fox News Digital at a special screening of his film “God’s Not Dead: We The People,” the 59-year-old actor explained that he is mindful of his wife and three children when choosing his roles in television and movies.

“I always told my wife, since I have the kids and a wife, that I would rather kiss a horse than a woman on screen,” Washington said on the red carpet in Century City, California.

He continued, “Because then I have to explain myself to my daughter, like why are you kissing a strange woman?” 

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Washington clarified that he was joking but added, “I’ve said ‘No’ more than I have said ‘Yes’.”

“God’s Not Dead: We the People” star Isaiah Washington told Fox News Digital how he is mindful of his wife and three children when taking on roles in television and movies.
(Eric Charbonneau )

Washington continued, “Because I always wanted to be alive to know 20 years later, what my kids would think of me in that particular role.” 

“For me, being married and having children did change a lot of my trajectory,” he said. “That’s why I didn’t want to get married 25 years ago, but I’m glad I did because the wife and children really make you the best human being that you can be.”

The “Romeo Must Die” star married wife Jenisa Garland in 1996. The couple share sons Tyme and Isaiah Washington V, and daughter Iman. 

Though Washington told Fox News Digital that his children have “no interest” in following in his footsteps by pursuing acting as a career, he revealed that he recently enlisted their help in creating a greeting video for his directorial debut “Corsicana”.

“I pulled my crew together,” Washington said. “I found out really well that my daughter is going to be a director, my son is going to be special effects, scripting and story boarder and the other son is going to be a producer.”

“And we all came together and we did this video.”

Washington said he enlisted his children to create a greeting video for his film "Corsicana." Washington is pictured with his family in 2018.

Washington said he enlisted his children to create a greeting video for his film “Corsicana.” Washington is pictured with his family in 2018.
(Photo by Robin L Marshall/Getty Images)

He went on say that Iman took her role as a director very seriously. “When I got out of line, she said, ‘Oh no, no, you gotta do it again. I didn’t believe you.’ I was like, whoa.”

Washington said that his daughter insisted that he do several takes to ensure that he was coming across as authentic in the video. “I’m like, ‘Wait a minute, I’m being me.'” 

[And she said,]”‘Yeah, but I don’t believe you being you. Stop acting.'”

“It was beautiful,” he said. “She was giving me direction.”

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In addition to directing, Washington – who was known for his role on “Grey’s Anatomy” before being fired, an incident he has spoken out about — also stars in the Western drama “Corsicana.” The movie was released in theaters across the United States on Aug. 26.  

Washington explained Tom Cruise inspired him to create a pre-film greeting message for “Corsicana” audiences. Cruise recently appeared in a welcome message that played ahead of showings of his blockbuster 2022 film “Top Gun: Maverick,” the sequel to his beloved 1986 movie “Top Gun.”

The Texas-native said he had a longtime interest in faith-based films. “I’ve always been curious on how I can engage in these kind of stories, faith-based stories, but I didn’t know how,” he explained.

Washington told Fox News Digital that he became involved in “God’s Not Dead: We The People” after a producer contacted him on Twitter. In the Christian drama, which was released in October 2021, he played Rep. Daryl Smith, a Congressman who helps the main character, Reverend Dave Hill (David R.R. White).

Production on a fifth installment of the "God's Not Dead" franchise  is set for later this year. Pictured: Pure Flix founding partner Michael Scott, actress Cory Oliver, actor and Pure Flix founding partner David A.R. White, actor Dean Cain and Washington.

Production on a fifth installment of the “God’s Not Dead” franchise  is set for later this year. Pictured: Pure Flix founding partner Michael Scott, actress Cory Oliver, actor and Pure Flix founding partner David A.R. White, actor Dean Cain and Washington.
(Getty Images)

“I’m always attracted to stories and characters that either scare me or educate me or have something to say that I also have to say,” he said. “You know, so I can say what I want to say through them. And Congressman Daryl Smith is a character that I get to hide behind but kind of say the things that I would never say, so it’s kind of like my alter ego.” 

“God’s Not Dead: We The People” also stars Antonio Sabato Jr., Francesca Battistelli, William Forsythe and Fox News host Judge Jeanine Pirro.

Though Washington didn’t work with Pirro during production, he said he thought she was “fantastic” in the film.  

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“God’s Not Dead: We The People” was the fourth installment of the “God’s Not Dead” series of films, which are available to watch now on the Christian streaming platform PureFlix. The special screening was attended by cast members from all four movies including White, Dean Cain, Ray Wise, Cory Oliver and Brad Heller.

At the screening, White announced that a fifth installment of the franchise was in the works. White, Cain, Washington, Wise, Oliver and Heller are all set to reprise their roles in the movie, which will begin production later this year in South Carolina.

“This is a new chapter in the ‘God’s Not Dead’ franchise and we can’t wait to share this with all the fans. I’m still humbled, eight years later, that this type of movie and this message resonates with so many people,” White said. 

“The legacy and impact of ‘God’s Not Dead’ is undeniable and I’m so proud and honored to be a part of this movement.”

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