Denzel Washington's recent declaration that he doesn't have actor friends reminds me of a scene that he played in the August Wilson play, Fences. In it, a son asks his father why he doesn't like him.
Watch the scene here: Fences Clip: How come you never liked me?
In the scene father explains to son, being a father is "my job, my responsibility."
A lot of that defiance and inner strength Washington displayed in that scene can be felt, if you read between the lines, in his declaration that he is a "working actor", not a movie star:
When asked why he didn't have many friends among his colleagues, Washington snapped, "Because I don't make friends! Maybe I'm not a butt-kisser, maybe I'm not a schmoozer. I'm not about to go to a party to try to get a job. And then when you have children, the other friends become other parents. We'd coach baseball or basketball. My wife and I were raised right. I don't want movie-star friends. And being African American, there were no big movie stars to hang out with anyway, not when I was starting out, they were just the third guy from the back! For whatever reason, I never befriended any white actors."
(One of Washington's public relations representatives later offer a clarification on the Guardian story, "I sat in on this interview," the rep said. "The part they failed to mention was after he said 'never befriended any white actors' he mentioned 'except,' and then listed Tom Hanks, Mel Gibson, Julia Roberts, etc. They cut the rest of the thought out. The rest is fine though.")
As the interview went on, Washington's seem to clarify that his attitude had less to do with his opinions of his fellow thespians and more with the current culture of celebrity in America. "I'm a working actor!" he declared. "What's a celebrity anyway? Paris Hilton's a celebrity. I'm just a working actor."
Washington understands show business. It's a business, and while networking is important, it's the death of your acting street cred if you become just a celebrity (witness Nicholas Cage!)
Remember to do something for your career every day and break a leg!