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Cary Elwes: It was ‘beautiful’ to work with Denzel Washington

Knew he was seeing something special on the set of Glory: Brit actor Cary Elwes PICTURE: GETTY

BRITISH actor Cary Elwes said working with Denzel Washington on an Oscar-winning film was ‘beautiful’ as the US star was honoured with a lifetime achievement award.

Washington, 64, was presented with the award by the American Film Institute (AFI) in recognition of a Hollywood career spanning more than four decades.

Elwes starred alongside the actor in the 1989 American Civil War movie Glory, which earned Washington his first Academy Award, and said he and his co-stars knew they were seeing something special.

Accolade: Washington accepting his award at the Dolby Theater in Los Angeles PICTURE: REX

Speaking ahead of the AFI ceremony in Los Angeles, he said: ‘I remember how beautiful it was to watch him, just the first day of rehearsal. I ended up going to watch him at work every day I was available.

‘Whenever I was not working I’d go and watch him and Morgan [Freeman], just hoping that something of their genius would rub off on me because I’ve been big fans of their work for a long time.

‘They were so sweet and Denzel, of course, the part he played was so brilliant, absolutely brilliant. We all knew, I don’t want to sound like we’re all know-it-alls, but we did kind of know, watching him work, this guy is going to get some kind of accolade for this performance.

‘He was so brilliant.’

Washington starred as Private Silas Trip in Glory, which tells the story of a predominantly African American military unit during the civil war.

He won an Oscar for best supporting actor for the portrayal, and won his second Oscar, this time for best actor, for 2001’s Training Day in which he played corrupt police officer Alonzo Harris.

Elwes, known for starring in The Princess Bride, said his favourite Washington performance came in 1999’s The Hurricane, which saw him play the wrongly jailed boxer Rubin Carter.

Elwes said: ‘The guy’s never made a bad movie, he’s fascinating to watch in everything he does.’

Washington’s career was honoured during a ceremony at Hollywood’s Dolby Theatre, with director Spike Lee and Black Panther actors Chadwick Boseman and Michael B Jordan among a star-studded audience.

The actor became the 47th person to receive the accolade and previous winners include George Clooney, Jane Fonda and Tom Hanks.