Thursday, March 01, 2007

And don't forget Denzel ...

Times reporter Vickie Welborn filed this report for today's paper. Hope you didn't miss it:

Denzel Washington visits Central School

GRAND CANE -- Staff and students of Central School in Grand Cane got an unexpected surprise Wednesday morning when movie star Denzel Washington and five members of his production team stopped by to check out the school's auditorium and classrooms for possible use in an upcoming movie, "The Great Debaters."

Principal Greg Womack said he had a little advance notice that Washington would stop by. He was pleased that Washington, who when word of his presence on campus quickly spread throughout the small student body, took time to visit classrooms, talk to students and teachers and pose for photographs.

"You can tell the man loves children," Womack said. "And they certainly enjoyed the time he spent with them."

Womack said it's not etched in stone that the school will be used, but he got an indication from the production crew that it's a possibility. If so, filming would begin in late May.

Washington also was in Mansfield touring the DeSoto Parish Courthouse.

Washington is the director of "The Great Debaters," a drama based on the true story of Melvin B. Tolson, a professor at Wiley College Texas, who in 1936 inspired students from the school's first debate team that went on to challenge Harvard in the national championship.

Photo: Denzel Washington starred in "Deja Vu," which was shot in New Orleans. (Touchstone Pictures, Jerry Bruckheimer Films, Scott Free Productions.)

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