Bruckheimer was instantly put in mind of Denzel Washington. Not only is Washington one of today’s most lauded actors, with Oscar®-winning roles as a corrupted police officer in "Training Day" and a Civil War soldier in "Glory," but Bruckheimer was drawn to his skill at carving out indelible portraits of strong, take-charge characters in such films as "Man On Fire," "The Pelican Brief" and, most recently, as the investigator in Spike Lee’s critically acclaimed bank heist movie "The Inside Man."
Says Bruckheimer: "Denzel is one of those actors who as a moviegoer you are always rooting for, which made him perfect for this role. As a federal agent, he’s faced with an incredible situation where he can change the past. There is a line halfway through Déjà Vu where Denzel's character says '…all of my career I've been trying to catch people after they do something horrible. For once in my life I'd like to catch somebody before they doing something horrible. Alright? Can you understand that?' That is the moment that you feel empathy for this tough guy who has seen it all and you are completely hooked. We knew Denzel would bring this story to life, and have people in the audience want to take this journey with him."
Washington was drawn not only to the thriller aspects of the story but to a relationship unlike any other he had ever encountered, that between Doug and Claire Kuchever, who, in a bizarre twist typical of the film's unexpected turns, appears to die before he gets to know her. "I loved that a big part of this story is a love story in reverse. My character encounters a young woman who's dead when he meets her, and then he gets a chance to watch her live. It sounds complicated at first, but with Jerry Bruckheimer and director Tony Scott involved, I knew it was going to be a great ride," Washington comments.
The film's advisors worked closely with Washington, including retired agent Jerry Rudden, from the U.S. Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms (ATF), who has spent twenty years involved in these and other high-profile, post-blast investigations. For Washington, working with real ATF agents was invaluable. "It helped to do research with real guys like Rudden who worked on the Pentagon bombing investigation, the first World Trade Center bombing and Oklahoma City. You name it, he was there and he knows what it's really like," he notes. "It helped me to really understand how, as a bomb specialist, Doug is not really as good at dealing with people as he is at dealing with evidence."
Opening soon across the Philippines, Déjà Vu is distributed by Buena Vista International through Columbia Pictures.