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Double Oscar winner Denzel Washington relished the opportunity to tread new ground alongside Mark Wahlberg in their new film "2 Guns," an action caper by Icelandic director Baltasar Kormakur.
Washington, 58, is renowned for heavyweight roles including anti-apartheid campaigner Steve Biko and Malcolm X. But he jumped at the chance to move to the lighter side, particularly as he was coming off the back of 2012's "Flight", in which he played an airline pilot struggling with addiction issues.
"After 'Flight' I was looking to something to have more fun," Washington said at the New York launch of the film, which opens in the United States on Friday.
Part comedy caper, part buddy movie, the film recounts the story of a DEA agent and a naval intelligence officer who start out investigating each other but end up on the run together.
The actors also clicked off-screen.
"So when I read the script and when I heard that Mark was involved I said 'ok, I can be safe cause I knew Mark is not just funny but he's also hard," Washington said of his co-star, who enjoyed major comedy success with his lead role in "Ted".
"He allowed me to go for, you know, don't worry about being too silly or whatever. For me it was new territory. That's why I wanted to go out with someone who knows that territory better than I do."
Wahlberg was not surprised that Washington took to comedy with ease. "We've known each other for a while. What's surprised me is how willing Denzel was to just try everything."
"He has been very supportive with me"
"Jar City" director Kormakur said Washington was a comedy natural. "He had a lot of fun. Unfortunately the world does not get the chance to see his funny side as much as it should."