On July 20th, Denzel Washington returns in his first-ever sequel role as Robert McCall, a nighttime vigilante who disguises his crusades by working as an earnest and mild-mannered Lyft driver during the day. To research his character’s new career, the die-hard method actor and ridesharing newbie hopped into the front seat with Boston Lyft driver Markel Wade. Wade, a five-year strong Lyft driver and professional actor himself, was more than happy to give Denzel his training day. Here’s what he had to say about teaching the award-winning actor how to give a five-star ride.
Were you nervous at all riding with Denzel?
I’m not really starstruck. I’ve done security for the New England Patriots, so I’m used to be being around celebrities. Plus, I’m an actor myself. Most times, celebrities are just ordinary people with extraordinary jobs. Denzel was really cool and down to earth.
Is it true that Denzel had never taken a Lyft ride until this movie?
It’s true! He was actually blown away and couldn’t believe it’s a real thing that people hop into the car of someone they may not know. He was even more surprised at Lyft Shared rides, where multiple people can get picked up in the same car and share a ride to their different destinations.
What did you and Denzel talk about as you rode around Boston?
Denzel had a bunch of questions. He definitely takes method acting seriously and tried to remain in character, writing everything down, all the dos and don’ts of being a Lyft driver. I told him to always make sure his car is clean and smells good, to ask open-ended questions, and go off the passenger’s vibe. If you ask them how they are and they say, “Fine,” then just follow the GPS. But if they appear talkative, then have a conversation and go with the flow.
What other advice did you give Denzel?
Always let the passenger be the DJ, and be natural. You don’t want to come across as nervous when a passenger gets into your car.
We know you shared some of your expert advice with Denzel, but did you take anything away from your time with him?
Definitely. I'd respected him for a long time, not just as an actor, but as a person. I remember him saying, "If you do what you have to do, you get to do what you want to do." That really stuck with me, and it's something I tell my son and daughter all the time. Everything I do is for them.
It sounds like you walked Denzel through all the ins and outs of the job. What rating would you give Denzel as a Lyft driver?
I’d definitely give Denzel five stars.
Check out The Equalizer 2, now in theatres nationwide.