Washington and Weinstein's mums negotiated 'The Great Debaters' deal

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New York, January 11 : Unlike most film deals wherein producers discuss financial issues with actors on their own, 'The Great Debaters' is one movie for which negotiations took place between the mothers of two-time Oscar-winner Denzel Washington and American filmmaker Harvey Weinstein.

Harvey has revealed that he and "talk show queen" Oprah Winfrey, who jointly produced the film through her Harpo Productions, were trying for months to convince Denzel to star in their flick.

'The Great Debaters' is about the rhetorical underdogs who brought fame to Texas' historically black Wiley College.

While Denzel was ready to direct the film, Weinstein also wanted him to play the debate team coach Melvin B. Tolson.

Weinstein revealed that Denzel was averse to directing and acting side-by-side.

Upon rounds of deliberations on the matter, the actor asked Weinstein to give him another four or five million dollars to make the 1930s period drama.

"Finally, Denzel said, 'I want your mom's number. I want my mother and your mother to talk. Let's see if they can work it out,'" the New York Daily News quoted Weinstein as saying.

Eventually, the producer had to accept the deal concluded between his mother Miriam and Denzel's mother Lennis.

"I gave him the money he wanted, and in return he acted in the film. That's what the mothers imposed on us," said Weinstein.

The film has eight NAACP Image Award nominations. It is also being seen as a strong Oscar contender.

ANI

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