Denzel Washington and Mark Wahlberg in '2 Guns'
Denzel Washington and Mark Wahlberg in '2 Guns'

According to the cast, some of their toughest scenes to film involved Washington and Wahlberg's characters being tortured in a bull pen:

DW: That bull scene, it was funky in there. It was where they sold cows, the auction room.

MW: That was the day [co-star] Edward James Olmos was intentionally forgetting his lines. He really loved us being up in that position. He had that big s-eating grin on.

BP: It was about 1,000 degrees, a bunch of cattle pens outside of New Orleans. It was the middle of the summer and I've got to tell you, there was quite an "ambrosial" smell. All the sweat in this movie is a hundred percent real.

MW: I thought it was no big deal being hung upside down until all the blood's rushing to your head. It was not fun. And then I actually started complaining a few minutes before [Denzel] did because it's not a fun position to be in. But it's a really cool scene, very different. We haven't seen it before.

DW: The bull enjoyed the scene.

MW: Because he kept saying, "The bull doesn't give a s-. He doesn't know we're making a movie here."

On making audiences laugh vs. getting them emotionally invested in a drama:

DW: For me, I have less experience with this. So I wanted to go out there with somebody who knows that territory better than I do. And it's film, so it frees you up to try new things.

MW: I approach everything the same. I try to make it as real as possible. If I'm going to make people laugh or make people cry, it's always the same approach for me. But if I start doing pratfalls, somebody please pull the plug on me.

DW: And that isn't easy. There's a pressure. "I'm supposed to be funny."

BP: It's unfortunate that the world doesn't get to see Denzel's funny side as much, but he's a great comedic actor and [here] he gets to play an alter ego in this, this undercover guy. So I could see he was having a lot of fun with that persona. I told him, "Man, you should do more comedy."

On incorporating improv into the written material:

DW: We went for it.

MW: I worked with Baltasar before so he was comfortable with me kind of doing my thing. Improvisation can always make a scene better as long as it makes sense with the moment and the story.

DW: People have said to me for a long time, "You're funny." And I say, "Well, I'm quick." But being funny on purpose take after take, I don't know. That's why say it's new territory. So by improvising, something might come out that might be good. And it's film, so they can cut it if it ain't good.

Beyond the comedy, there are some serious themes in 2 Guns as well - indictments of the way federal agencies work and drug and immigration policy. But Washington says he wasn't concerned with that when making the film:

DW: I didn't think about that. My wife and I went and saw Fruitvale Station last night. It ain't that.

He also acknowledged that their film comes at a time when more serious issues are happening in society:

DW: I did tear up [at Fruitvale]. At an interesting point too, somewhere between the girlfriend's reaction and the mother's reaction. It was really interesting talking to my oldest daughter. Between that and the Zimmerman trial, she said, "Dad you've got to understand, this is the first time we've dealt with these issues in my lifetime." She was too young for Rodney King and she studied history and Civil Rights. But she said, "For my generation, this is one of the first events."

Above all, he cites this period in his career as a time to start fresh:

DW: It's a privilege to be able to do what I do, so I'm just trying to bring one hundred percent of myself to each and every part. When I did [Broadway play] Fences a couple years back, it just kind of woke me up. It was like, "Okay, I've got to get back to the basics." In every way - through the script and in myself. So I made a commitment to just work harder.


2 Guns opens wide on August 2. We'll have a review of the film posted soon. Find the trailer below: