Upcoming Denzel Washington Movies To Keep On Your Radar

(Welcome to On Your Radar, a series where we take a look at what's next for the biggest actors and filmmakers, and why you should be excited...or not.)

Twenty years after "Training Day" hit theaters, King Kong's still got nothing on Denzel Washington. In an era where IPs are the new A-listers, the two-time Oscar-winner remains one of the rare actors who can draw a crowd on their basis of their name alone. And much like Liam Neeson, Washington has enjoyed a second wind as a member of the 60 and over action movie hero club, courtesy of his collaborations with "Training Day" helmer Antoine Fuqua on "The Equalizer" films and the "Magnificent Seven" remake.

Washington has also become increasingly involved behind the scenes on his movies over the last decade, whether that means calling the shots or producing them on top of starring — or, in the case of "Ma Rainey's Black Bottom," lending his name as a producer only. That will only stay the case with his next batch of films, which see him flexing his muscles as an actor, director, and a producer.

The Tragedy of Macbeth

A retelling of William Shakespeare's "Macbeth" by way of a German Expressionism and Noir homage sounds enticing on its own. Throw in writer-director Joel Coen, working without his brother for the first time, with Washington and Frances McDormand playing the titular Scottish lord and his wife, and you've got what reads like an easy recipe for greatness.

Sure enough, Coen's "The Tragedy of Macbeth" garnered near-universal acclaim from its premiere at this year's New York Film Festival, with /Film's Hoai-Tran Bui praising Washington for delivering "a barn-burner of a performance" as an iteration of The Bard's doomed protagonist who's all the more world-weary, yet ruthless because of his older age. This might even be the thing that finally convinces many of those who've been holding off on getting an Apple TV+ subscription to bite the bullet. (At least long enough to stream it and the service's better offerings, like "Wolfwalkers" and "Dickinson.")

"The Tragedy of Macbeth" opens in select theaters on December 25, 2021, before hitting Apple TV+ on January 14, 2022.

A Journal for Jordan

The first three times Washington called the shots on a movie ("Antwone Fisher," "The Great Debaters," and "Fences"), he also starred or co-starred in them. And all three times, the results were pretty respectable, if not exactly home runs, depending on who you ask. However, for his fourth time at bat as director, "A Journal for Jordan," Washington is staying entirely off-camera, pending a sneaky Alfred Hitchcock or even M. Night Shyamalan-style cameo.

That's not to say "A Journal for Jordan" is hurting for acting talent without him. On the contrary, the movie gives Michael B. Jordan a chance to show off his skills as a romantic lead opposite Chanté Adams, an up-and-comer who earned kudos from critics for her turn in the 2017 biographical drama "Roxanne Roxanne." The film itself adapts Dana Canedy's 2008 memoir about her relationship with her late fiancé, U.S. Army First Sergeant Charles Monroe King, and the journal he left for their son, with Jordan and Adams playing King and Canedy, respectively.

For those interested in catching Washington's (hopefully great) tear-jerking drama on the big screen, "A Journal for Jordan" opens exclusively in theaters on December 25, 2021.

The Piano Lesson

Did you know John David Washington is Denzel's son? Okay, most people do by now, but it's to the former's credit that he's begun to step out of his father's shadow as an actor thanks to his roles in films like "BlacKkKlansman" and "Tenet," as well as HBO's "Ballers." The younger Washington is now readying to properly collaborate with his dad for the first time as an adult on a film adaptation of "The Piano Lesson."

Set in 1930s Pittsburgh, August Wilson's Pulitzer Prize-winning 1987 play focuses on Black brother-sister duo Boy Willie and Berniece Charles as they argue over what do with a family heirloom in the form of a piano with decorations designed and carved by an enslaved ancestor. John David Washington and Danielle Brooks ("Orange is the New Black") will play Boy Willie and Berniece, respectively, in a 2022 Broadway revival of the play (via TheaterMania). Samuel L. Jackson will also star as their Uncle Doaker and seasoned film, TV, and theater actor LaTanya Richardson Jackson (who is married to Jackson) is directing.

As of March 2021, the plan was for the stage revival's cast to reprise their roles in a "Piano Lesson" movie adaptation, with Denzel Washington producing what would be his third project based on Wilson's work after "Fences" and "Ma Rainey's Black Bottom." Washington is also said to be interested in having Barry Jenkins direct the film, which would be fantastic ... so long as the "Moonlight" and "Underground Railroad" helmer isn't too busy with "The Lion King" sequel on the way.