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Denzel Washington Nearly Losing 'The Book of Eli' Role

January 12, 2010 (6:45 am) GMT
Denzel Washington was almost losing his leading role in 'The Book of Eli' since the filmmaker feared that African-American star doesn't travel internationally.
Denzel Washington

Movie executives behind 's new movie "" had reservations about casting the Oscar winner in the lead role - because they feared the African-American star was not bankable enough across the globe. Filmmaker Allen Hughes and his brother Albert direct Washington in the post-apocalyptic action film, but Allen reveals they had to fight to have the "Training Day" star cast as Eli.

He tells the New York Post, "I'm not gonna front - Denzel's black. His numbers are great, but internationally, does black travel? That's what really was going on. (The studio) was crunching the numbers."

The movie, which also stars and , opens in the U.S. on Friday, January 15. The big screen project follows a lone warrior named Eli, played by Denzel Washington, who fights across the desolate wasteland to realize his destiny and to save the future of humanity.

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