tv 60 Minutes CBS December 18, 2016 7:00pm-8:01pm PST
ord. we go further, so you can. ( shouting ) >> their only hope is the syrian civil defense, a self-appointed, volunteer force of rescue workers who call themselves the white helmets. this woman told us her entire family was buried." >> ( translated ): i didn't expect my son would survive," she told us." he was only ten days old." but after 16 hours of labor, her baby was brought into the world a second time. ( cheering ) ♪ ♪ >> it is the oldest choir in the world. evidence of its existence dates back to the seventh century.
these days, performing beneath michelangelo's masterpiece, it is called the sistine chapel choir, but is more commonly known as the pope's choir. and unless you plan on being in vatican city on christmas eve, you won't hear this story's sacred music, but you will tonight on "60 minutes." ♪ ♪ >> i ain't worried about them firing me. what, they gonna fire me because i asked a question? >> denzel washington's latest movie is "fences," the work of the late august wilson, who chronicled the struggles of black americans. his genius was capturing the sensibilities, the unique cadences of african american life with finely crafted language. >> there's a line i say: "what that mean to me, 'bonnie working'?" >> what that mean to me, "bonnie working"? i don't care if she working. go ask her for $10 if she working. talking about bonnie working. why ain't you working? >> i'm steve kroft.
>> i'm leslie stahl. >> i'm bill whitaker. >> i'm charlie rose. >> i'm scott pelley. those stories, tonight on "60 minutes." >> cbs money watch, sponsored by american express open, proud supporter of growing businesses. >> good evening. fed chair janet yellen gives a speech tomorrow on the state of the job market. nike reports earnings this week, and a 1993 medal from muhammad ali to nelson mandela sold this weekend for nearly $9,000. i'm elaine quijano, cbs news.
(sfx: train whistle) hurry up, hurry up! ke♪p it moving! quick, quick! ♪ let's get wrapping! you remembered to take the sears tags off, right? no, because you did! no, because you did! >> pelley: a great city that once held more than two million people is on the edge of surrender after five years of siege and starvation. aleppo is the center of the rebellion against the syrian dictatorship of bashar al assad, and this past week assad and his russian ally intensified their air strikes against aleppo's dense neighborhoods.
for civilians under this bombardment, the greatest fear is to be buried alive, to suffocate or bleed to death in the rubble of their own home. their only hope is the syrian civil defense, a self-appointed, all-syrian volunteer force of rescue workers who call themselves the white helmets. the air strikes, day and night, obliterate apartments and shatter the nerves. often, the bombs are not aimed at military targets; they're not aimed at all-- just a barrel of shrapnel and t.n.t., heaved from a helicopter onto any neighborhood the assad dictatorship does not control. >> rami jarrah: it's to terrorize people in this area. it's to tell these people that "you're not welcome here, and we want you out."
>> pelley: rami jarrah is a syrian reporter who's followed the white helmets from their makeshift beginnings to today's trained force of 3,000 rescue workers. >> jarrah: they provide some sort of security or safety or some sort of hope to civilians that live in this area, that even if you are attacked, even if your building comes down, there is someone that's going to come and save you. >> pelley: you are not alone. >> jarrah: you're not alone, yes. >> pelley: this little boy was alone and nearly invisible when the white helmets happened to spot just his hair in the pulverized concrete of his home. bare hands were in a race with suffocation. >> jarrah: i think, for them, it's luck. it's that... that they dig any rubble that they see to get those people out. they frantically dig through
every part of any apartment building or anything that's been... been destroyed to check. they're usually there for hours after the attack. >> pelley: how many hours? >> jarrah: how many hours? six, seven hours. i've seen them operate continuously. >> pelley: this is that same boy, his face freed. they excavated the ruin, hour by hour. the white helmets say they have saved 70,000, and, with each, they shout their gratitude to god. majd khalaf and rady saad have been white helmets three years. khalaf said, "we feel as if we've brought that person back to life. the joy at that moment is indescribable." tell me about the hardest rescue you've ever done." there was a woman and her
husband," he told us." only four of her fingers were sticking out of the rubble. we could see her moving her fingers like this, so my colleagues dug her out. and the first thing she asked about was her husband. they'd been married for ten days. unfortunately, her husband had been killed." fingers-- or, here, the leg of a boy-- are clues in a chaos of concrete. the leg led to hips and a torso. body parts are expected. but then they uncover a face. more often than anyone could expect, life is resurrected from
a shallow grave. when you uncover one of these faces covered with dust and the eyes open, what is that moment like for you? rady saad told us, "i don't have any feelings, i have a goal. the goal is to save the most people in the least amount of time. but when i go home, i've spent nights crying, really crying." day after day, building after building, hour after hour, victim after victim, how do you keep going?" there are a lot of people who need our help," he said."
there's a 50% chance in every operation that i'll live and 50% chance that i'll die. but in the end, i've left my mark. i've left children who are going to live and complete our future." rady saad calculates his odds at 50/50 because the white helmets themselves are targets of the assad regime. >> jarrah: the plane doesn't attack once. it usually attacks twice or three times. so, the civil defense are able to actually continue doing their work even understanding that that plane is waiting for people to gather up because it wants to come back and attack when there's a large crowd of people. >> pelley: the white helmets call that second bomb run, the one aimed at them, a double tap. and it happened during this rescue in aleppo.
raed saleh wears the loss of his men and his country. he once owned an electronics business. the white helmets in more than 100 towns elected him their leader. how many of your people have you lost? he told us a white helmet had been killed that morning, and as of last week saleh has lost 154 volunteers. how did the white helmets begin? "after several bombings," he said, "there were individual initiatives by regular people-- tailors, blacksmiths, carpenters, university students, doctors; people from different backgrounds who formed teams to respond to emergencies in a more organized fashion. after that, there was communication with outside organizations who began to train these teams."
this is the training in a country we agreed not to name. elite disaster teams from other nations teach the use of microphones to sense vibrations, and cameras to peer into crevices. the united states chipped in $29 million for this, about a quarter of the white helmets' budget. this home was blasted into a family's tomb. the only thing escaping was one faint voice. a white helmet, searching, calls out, "brother, can you see our light?" the voice replies, "something's on my back." he's right. it's the roof. but for an inch, the 16-year-old boy would be dead. you're looking at him right
there, face down. this is his shoulder and his right arm, already in a cast. no architect's calculation of blast loading or lateral resistance can explain the simple miracles of survival. after seven hours, it appears the boy emerged an orphan and only child. everyone else in the house was dead. hadi al-abdullah is a syrian journalist who posts stories of the white helmets on youtube." if there is meaning to the word 'courage,'" he said, "it is represented by the civil defense." abdullah's stories caught the disapproving notice of the assad dictatorship, and last june the door of his apartment building was connected to a bomb."
without me hearing any explosion," he said, "there was stone and steel on top of me, and i couldn't move any of my limbs." rescue workers he'd covered came to uncover him." when i heard the sound of the civil defense bulldozer, i started to feel some hope that i might live. slowly, the stone started to be removed, rock by rock. all of the weight started to lessen." just hearing their voices gave you hope that you would live?" exactly," he said." i was able to breathe, to hear their voices. it was difficult to open my eyes, but i opened them a little and saw them wearing their white helmets. i was so happy that i was out of the rubble." they said you were going to die, and then you returned to life. abdullah endured more than half a dozen surgeries then returned
to syria in a wheelchair to continue his reporting. in turkey, we visited this clinic for syrian amputees, and you find most everyone owes their life to the white helmets. was your leg completely severed?" yes," he told us." when the civil defense came, they tied my leg for me from here, with a cord." they tied a tourniquet around your leg." then they put us on stretchers and took us to the field hospital."" they didn't leave me there to bleed to death," she said." i would be in heaven if not for the civil defense." it seems, in every rescue, there are children. this man flailed for freedom, and just below him a child's head, inches this side of the living. this woman told us her entire family was buried, and she was
rescued first." i didn't expect my son would survive," she told us." he was only ten days old." but after 16 hours of labor, her baby was brought into the world a second time. " everyone told me that he's a miracle child. it really is a miracle." two years later, her son is all she has. her husband and daughter are dead. the man who saved her boy, 31- year-old khaled harrah, was later killed in a double tap. he had two children and another on the way. the white helmets respond to an average of 35 attacks a day. fighting for life in a vicious war, they were nominated this
switch to cricket wirelesst stuck on this holiday season. and get the samsung galaxy amp 2, for free! plus, plans now start at $30 a month! just a little holiday cheer from the merrier carrier! cricket wireless. something to smile about. lips appear to age fasterno worries! skin. now there's chapstick total hydration. it's 100% natural, age-defying formula is clinically proven to provide healthier, more youthful looking lips. chapstick. put your lips first.
knowing where you stand. it's never been easier. except when it comes to your retirement plan. but at fidelity, we're making retirement planning clearer. and it all starts with getting your fidelity retirement score. in 60 seconds, you'll know where you stand. and together, we'll help you make decisions for your plan... to keep you on track. ♪ time to think of your future it's your retirement. know where you stand.
>> rose: it is the oldest choir in the world. evidence of its existence dates back to the seventh century. today, it's called the sistine chapel choir but is more commonly known as the pope's choir. that's because it's at the pope's side for all of the important papal celebrations. this coming week, during the pope's christmas eve mass, the choir will perform in st. peter's basilica, and, just yesterday, the choir sang at a private mass at the vatican honoring the 80th birthday of pope francis. the choir may be dedicated to the pope, but historically it has held concerts on its own, especially at its home base, the magnificent sistine chapel. ♪ ♪ it was here, beneath michelangelo's breathtaking
frescoes in one of the world's greatest wonders, where we recently attended a concert staged by the pope's choir. ♪ ♪ ( "gloria" from palestrina's "missa papae marcelli" ) ♪ ♪ ♪ ♪ ♪ ♪ the music is sacred, contemplative, mystical. it soars whether in concert at the sistine chapel or during mass next door at st. peter's basilica. when the pope presides, the choir provides a holy soundtrack
made up of 30 boys and 22 men. the choir helps spread the pope's message. ♪ ♪ >> mark spyropoulos: we have a job to inspire people. they may not understand a word of what's going on at the vatican, but, when they hear us singing, we have to direct them to consider something which is transcendent and divine. that's our job. >> rose: mark spyropoulos, a baritone from britain; vittorio catarci, a bass from italy; and cezary arkadiusz stoch, a tenor from poland, consider themselves more than just voices of the pope. what does it mean that you're called the pope's choir? >> catarci: well, we are, we are. >> stoch: the family. >> catarci: pope's family. >> rose: pope's family. >> catarci: yes. his personal choir. >> rose: pope francis is the most popular pope in a generation. he spends much time tending to the poor and the dispossessed. it is this humility that also makes his choir feel at home, as
mark spyropolous learned when he joined last year. >> spyropolous: when i first met him, the whole thing was completely overwhelming. and he said, "you're from london. ( laughs ) well, welcome to the vatican," like this. and i was expecting, you know, sort of... i was so welcomed by this. i... it was very surprising and very impressed by quite how... what a personal touch he had. ♪ ♪ >> rose: as it tours italy, performing in some of the country's great cathedrals, the choir sings in harmony. ( cremona concert, allegri's "miserere" ) ♪ ♪ ♪ ♪ but until recently, the pope's choir wasn't worthy of the name or the settings where it sang.
for decades, the choir lacked cohesion. many members came from opera and made sure they were heard. ♪ ♪ the choir was called the" sistine screamers." >> catarci: we were aware that we were singing too loud. >> rose: vittorio catarci remembers the era of the booming voices. he's been with the choir for 30 years and three popes. can you sing for me the difference between the way it was and the way it is now? >> catarci: oh, for example we used to sing: ♪ sicut cervus. and now we sing: ♪ sicut cervus. it's completely different because we are looking for a very spiritual sound, not a meaty sound.
>> rose: the choir turned around after maestro massimo palombella was hired in 2010, only the sixth man to be appointed director of the pope's choir in 200 years. >> palombella ( translated ): i didn't have to invent a sound, i had to rediscover a sound which was the sound the choir once produced in the sistine chapel. >> rose: palombella went back to the past, combining high-tech and ancient texts. he studied endlessly, looking for the precise vocal range that palestrina originally intended when he wrote the sacred music that provides the bulk of the choir's repertoire. palestrina composed his music with the sistine chapel in mind after michelangelo had finished painting his masterpiece. >> spyropolous: palestrina was writing when the paint was still wet of these incredible frescoes. and when we sing palestrina, it's not like looking at a
fresco; it's the equivalent of being in a fresco. ♪ ♪ ( "credo" from palestrina's "papae marcelli" ) >> rose: maestro palombella also softened the tone by hardening the workload. the choir went from rehearsing three hours a week to three hours a day. so, you have to be a perfectionist? tough. >> palombella ( translated ): that's exactly right. >> rose: if you are on a journey of excellence, how far along are you on your journey? >> palombella: circa a meta. >> rose: halfway. you sound like an american sports coach. >> catarci: a choir is a very, very terrifying beast because if you are not able to handle it, it goes away. it runs away.
>> stoch: this not safari. this is more dangerous. >> catarci: you have to handle the choir. we were compared to a ferrari, but you have to drive ferrari to do dressage like, you know, like the horses. just little bend, little, you know, very light dressage. dressage, not vroom! ♪ ♪ >> rose: at rehearsal and in concert, palombella conducts the choir like a manic traffic cop. the maestro was born on christmas day, but, with his choir, he's not always in a holiday mood. >> palombella: blah, blah, blah. >> rose: for the boys in the choir, commands from the maestro can be jolting. and when he's not happy, lorenzo? >> malizia ( translated ): eh, eh, he has moments of...
>> malizia ( translated ): he has some explosions of anger, but then he calms down because then we sing the piece properly. >> rose: 13-year-old lorenzo malizia is one of the boys, all sopranos, who are able to produce the high notes that give the choir its celestial sound. just listen to how the boys warm up. ( singing in high voices ) ♪ ♪ ♪ ♪ the vatican refers to them as the "white voices" for the purity of their sound. >> choir: ♪ ave maria. ♪ ♪
♪ ♪ ♪ ♪ ♪ ♪ ♪ ♪ >> rose: at home, like many italian boys their age, they have ordinary pictures on their walls. and then, there are reminders of why the boys are extraordinary. so, when people ask you about the pope, what do you tell them? >> catapano ( translated ): they ask us, "how is the pope? is he fun? does he always crack jokes?" we say, "yes, yes, it's true."
so, he's fun. >> rose: 13-year-old riccardo catapano has been in the pope's choir for four years. i'd be nervous if i were singing in front of the pope. >> catapano ( translated ): i am little anxious, but then i think that the pope does not understand anything about music. he only says how beautiful it sounds. so, i continue to sing. >> rose: across rome, auditions for the choir are held in the second and third grades. several times a year... ...instructors fan out to see who has the right timbre. ♪ ♪ ♪ ♪ 700 boys are tested a year in all. ♪ ♪ ♪ ♪ it can be painstaking. few make it.
>> ciao, ciao, ciao. >> rose: only a dozen at most are selected annually. the chosen ones are sworn in during an elaborate ceremony. each are given five-year scholarships at a special school in the center of rome. they aren't studying to become priests; their curriculum runs the gamut. >> are you italian? >> i am. >> rose: they may be known as choir boys on sundays, but the rest of the week they are typical boys on the cusp of their teenage years. these are hallowed times for the boys, until the day arrives when their voices break and they must leave the pope's choir. they can return as adults, but 11-year-old emanuele buccarella fears what's coming soon. what happens when your voice breaks? will that be a sad day? >> buccarella ( translated ): for me, it will be an ugly
moment when that time will come in which my voice will no longer be ready to sing the way we sing now. i try to make the most of everything now until that day will come in which they tell me my voice is no longer good to sing. ♪ ♪ >> rose: in their remaining time with the choir, their voices will join those of their adult brethren to bring the sounds of heaven to earth. the music of the pope's choir speaks to the soul. >> palombella ( translated ): we recently did a concert, and a man came up to me at the end of the concert and said that the choir that i conduct is missing one thing: wings. >> rose: wings. to go as an angel. >> palombella ( translated ): like an angel. ( "amen" from victoria's "o magnum mysterium" ) ♪ ♪
no, because you did! no, because you did! only new alka-seltzer plus justfree of artificial dyes and preservatives liquid gels delivers the powerful cold symptom relief you need without the unnecessary additives you don't. store manager: clean up, aisle 4. alka-seltzer plus liquid gels. c'mohappy birthday! i survived a heart attack. i'm doing all i can to keep from having another one. and i'm taking brilinta. for people who've been hospitalized for a heart attack. i take brilinta with a baby aspirin. no more than one hundred milligrams as it affects how well it works. brilinta helps keep my platelets from sticking together and forming a clot. brilinta reduced the chance of another heart attack. or dying from one. it worked better than plavix. >>don't stop taking brilinta without talking to your doctor since stopping it too soon increases your risk of clots in your stent, heart attack, stroke, and even death. brilinta may cause bruising or bleeding more easily, or serious, sometimes fatal bleeding. don't take brilinta if you have bleeding,
like stomach ulcers, a history of bleeding in the brain, or severe liver problems. tell your doctor about bleeding, new or unexpected shortness of breath, any planned surgery, and all medicines you take. >>talk to your doctor about brilinta. i'm doing all i can. that includes brilinta. if you can't afford your medication, astra zeneca may be able to help. hey!reens presents, a holiday mini miracle. hey! ♪ this is for you. did you really? didn't have too! ♪ getting the gift you almost kept for yourself? now that's a holiday mini miracle. and it's easy to create your own at walgreens... with 50 percent off the gifts of the week, just around the corner. walgreens. at the corner of happy and healthy.
i definitely rely on pg&e to be an energy advisor. anything from rebates, to how can we be more efficient? pg&e has a number of programs, to help schools save on energy. when i see a program that fits them, then i bring it to them. with the help of pg&e we've been able to save a tremendous amount of energy and a tremendous amount of money. we're able to take those savings and invest it right back into the classroom. together, we're building a better california. >> whitaker: denzel washington has been acting for more than 40 years, playing almost everything: shakespeare; gangsters; action heroes. now at 61, in what he calls his fourth quarter, denzel washington has decided to focus on a project that's more important to him than any work he's done: bringing to the screen the works of one of america's greatest playwrights, the late august wilson, winner
of two pulitzer prizes. wilson, who died in 2005, wrote ten iconic plays known as "the american century cycle," which explore the black american experience in each decade of the 20th century. denzel has committed to producing all of them, nine for hbo. but "fences," wilson's most popular work, opens in movie theaters this christmas. denzel directs as well as stars. i understand that you made it clear to everybody on the set that you're not after good, you're after great. and that anybody who's coming to work on this film... >> washington: where'd you hear that? >> whitaker: ...has to want great. >> washington: there's nothing wrong with that. >> whitaker: there's nothing... nothing wrong with that. >> washington: well, the best you can be. >> troy, you ought to stop that lying. >> whitaker: "fences" is set in pittsburgh in the 1950s and '60s, when racial integration was just gaining a toehold. >> he ain't said nothing. he told me to go down to the commissioner's office next friday. whoa. >> whitaker: washington plays
53-year-old troy maxson, whose life is defined by his big personality and his bigger disappointments. >> gonna fire me because i asked a question? that's all i did. >> washington: he is a garbage man who had great ability to play baseball, but he came along at a time blacks weren't accepted yet in the big leagues. so, he was frustrated by that. >> anybody can drive a truck. how come you have all the whites driving and the colored lifting? >> rolling. >> whitaker: washington filmed" fences" in the hill district of pittsburgh, a once vibrant black neighborhood where august wilson grew up. the people who went to work and to church and raised their families here inspired many of his plays. >> washington: it's a pittsburgh story, and i wanted to be in pittsburgh. the stories i get from people, all of that helps to feed the film. >> whitaker: washington turned this vacant hill district house into the maxson family home, familiar to many of us who grew up in a black working class neighborhood at the time. i swear i know this house. >> washington: yeah, man.
( laughs ) now, now, okay, now, you tell me. >> whitaker: my aunt lived in this house. >> washington: yeah? >> whitaker: and i... >> washington: the front room and... >> whitaker: uh-huh. uh-huh. the parlor. >> washington: the parlor. i'll take you for the tour. this is the dining room. >> whitaker: the dining room. and this... >> washington: is it. it got jesus, martin luther king. >> whitaker: in the '60s, this was in every african american... >> washington: you know i had to... >> whitaker: ...house. >> washington: ...put that in there. ( laughs ) you know i put that in there. >> whitaker: every... >> washington: you know it. >> whitaker: ...african american... >> washington: and they ought to be felt. ( laughs ) you know, that black... whatever that felt stuff, right? of course, you got jesus, martin luther king and john f. kennedy, and her baby. ( laughs ) she... you notice she don't have no pictures of troy up there. ( laughs ) that's terrible, actually. this is the backyard. >> whitaker: the action takes place right out here. >> what you all out here getting into? >> what you worried about what we getting into for? this is men talk, woman. >> whitaker: "fences" is the story of a family unraveling; troy from his wife, rose, and from his son, cory. >> look, boy, the white man ain't gonna let you get nowhere with no football no way. no, you get your book learning
so you can work your way up at the a&p, learn how to fix cars or build houses, get you a trade. this way, you got something can't nobody take away from you. >> whitaker: do you see your father in troy? >> washington: in some regards. he couldn't read well. he had the same conversation with me about getting a good tra... you know, he... he worked for the water department in new york, and he... he could... he could get me on at the water department. and he said, "you know, i could be a supervisor in 25 years." ( laughs ) he's like, "you get a good job, you get a trade." >> whitaker: get a secure job. >> washington: yeah, a secure job, exactly. and... and, like, rose, my mother, could see further, you know. "no, he's gotta get an education. he's gotta go to college." and you know, he couldn't see that far. >> times have changed, troy. people change. the world's changing, and you can't even see it. >> woman, i do the best i can do. i come in here every friday. i carry a sack of potatoes and a
bucket of lard. you all line up at the door with your hands out. i give you the lint from my pockets. i give you my sweat and my blood. i ain't got no tears. i done spent them. we go upstairs in that room at night, i fall down on you and try to blast a hole into forever. i get up monday morning, find my lunch on the table, go out, make my way, find my strength to get me through to next friday. that's all i got, rose. >> washington: i remember seeing my father in the driveway, listening to the ballgame. he had his... i remember the door would be open. he had his foot out, and he's just listening to the ballgame. and i realize, as when i got older, it was the only place where he had a chance to... he just dealt with one boss. now, he's about to go in the house, and my mother's in there. the other boss. and he had maybe ten minutes to himself to be the boss. >> whitaker: in the driveway. >> washington: in the driveway. >> whitaker: listening to the ballgame. >> washington: listening to the ballgame and... because he had to come home and eat, and then
go to the night job. >> whitaker: do you tap into that, to bring that out into the performance? >> washington: it's in there. >> whitaker: got to be. >> washington: yeah, it's got to be. >> whitaker: viola davis told us she admired denzel washington long before they acted in" fences" together on broadway. >> davis: when i was younger, i just thought he was good looking, you know. so, i was like, "denzel is so good looking." >> whitaker: was it difficult having him as both leading man and director? >> davis: not at all. i thought he flowed in and out of those two things effortlessly. he never gets in the way. i think that's a testament to him as an artist that his ego took a backseat to anything. >> washington: i think this is a role of a lifetime for her, and she bites down and she... she tears it up. >> it's not easy for me to admit that i been standing in the same place for 18 years. >> well, i been standing with
you. i been right here with you, troy. i got a life, too. i gave 18 years of my life to stand in the same spot as you. don't you think i ever wanted other things? don't you think i had dreams and hopes? what about my life? what about me? >> davis: people say everything in film is small, every moment is small. you've got to play it small. and sometimes moments are not small. >> whitaker: it's painful to watch. >> davis: well, it should be because that's just how august wrote. he didn't write small. >> whitaker: august wilson's themes are big and universal. his plays chronicle the struggles of black americans searching for what everyone wants-- dignity, love, security- - across generations and in the face of overwhelming odds. his genius was capturing the sensibilities, the unique cadences of african american life with finely crafted language.
>> washington: there's a line i say: "what that mean to me, 'bonnie working'?" >> what that mean to me, "bonnie working"? i don't care if she working. go ask her for $10 if she working. talking about bonnie working. why ain't you working? >> washington: so, it's... >> whitaker: there's a rhythm. >> washington: ...there's a rhythm to it. "what... what that mean?" not "what does that mean to me?" he wrote, "what that mean to me, 'bonnie working'? i don't care if she working. go ask her for $10 if she working. talking about bonnie working. why ain't you working?" it's like shakespeare. the punch line is actually set up if you just play the music. >> whitaker: at a scoring session, we found washington putting music to wilson's words. it's all part of being the director, which he's done twice before. >> washington: so, we can just can pick up at 37. i just dig the process. days like today, man, it don't get no better than this. and, in theory, i'm the boss. don't tell anybody. ( laughs ) like, "oh, really?" >> whitaker: august wilson wanted to have a black director to make the film. >> washington: yeah. well, he got his wish. >> whitaker: he got his wish.
>> washington: no pressure on me because at last i check, i was black. i am black. so... >> whitaker: check. >> washington: yeah, yeah. i covered that, yeah. ( laughs ) i didn't have to audition. ( laughs ) yeah. >> whitaker: he said he didn't think a white director would be able to get it... give it justice. >> washington: it's cul... it's cultu... i think it's a cultural thing more than a race thing. >> whitaker: and culturally, you understand... >> washington: i... oh, no question. >> whitaker: ...you understand this place and these people? >> washington: no, no question. when we would come out pouring a little for the boys upstate, i mean, i grew up with that. we always poured out a little liquor for the guys that were locked up or the guys that were dead. i know what it smells like when my sister's getting her hair fried with an iron, hot iron on a sunday mor... >> whitaker: sunday morning. >> washington: thank you. so, you see what i'm saying? that's culture. that's not even race. that's culture. >> whitaker: denzel washington grew up in mt. vernon, a working class suburb of new york city. his mother owned a beauty salon. to keep him off the streets, she scraped together the money to send him to boarding school.
he went to fordham university and began acting in plays. hollywood took notice. >> washington: i did a tv movie in 1978 called "flesh and blood." we filmed here. >> you're going to be a heavyweight. you got the chin. you got the guts. but most of all, bobby, most of all, my blue-eyed friend, most of all, you're white. >> whitaker: it may surprise you, but i... i saw that. >> washington: "flesh and blood"? >> whitaker: uh-huh. >> washington: oh. ( laughs ) >> whitaker: that's it. and... >> washington: had a gap in my teeth then. >> whitaker: you had a gap in your teeth. >> washington: and broken teeth. >> whitaker: and you... and your voice was a little higher, it seems. >> washington: was it? >> whitaker: he went on to win his first oscar for his role in the civil war drama "glory," playing a defiant union soldier in one of the first black regiments. >> davis: watching him in "glory..." ( sighs ) >> davis: i can't express what it means to an actor to see a performance like that because it was brave.
who would've made a choice to... as they're getting beaten to play both bravery and pain at the same time? moments like that inspire you as an artist to go there also. >> oh, i'm so surprised. >> whitaker: he is known in hollywood for his almost obsessive preparation and attention to detail. he says it helps him disappear into his roles. >> whitaker: malcolm x, you kind of looked like him. >> washington: actually, i don't. >> whitaker: i know you don't. but in the movie, you convinced people that you look like malcolm x. >> when you have a powder keg and there are too many sparks around it, the thing's going to explode. >> washington: it's what i do. >> whitaker: that's what you do. >> washington: that's what i do. >> whitaker: and with rubin "hurricane" carter? i understand you train with boxing. >> washington: yeah, yeah. in a movie, the shots have to be short, and you have to fake it and do all that kind of stuff, so... >> whitaker: oh, you were faking it? >> washington: not the body shots. all the body shots were real. >> whitaker: so, you were getting punched? >> washington: and i was punching. doesn't hurt as long as you're getting a few shots off.
>> whitaker: "training day." >> today's your training day, officer hoyt. >> washington: i did a lot of work with the l.a.p.d. i found out how dangerous it was. >> you got today and today only to show me who and what you're made of. you hear me? >> i hear you. >> my nigga. >> whitaker: he was tough. >> washington: alonzo was just wicked. just evil. >> whitaker: you hear often that black actors, black movies don't play well overseas. is that the truth? or is that an excuse? >> washington: i've heard everything. and what i hear keeps changing because they used to say it didn't sell over here, and it does. then, they said, "doesn't sell in... in the south," and it does. "well, it doesn't sell in europe," and it does. so, i just keep pushing. well, what an opportunity i have to prove them wrong. >> whitaker: and he has, becoming one of hollywood's most bankable stars.
he's favored to get a seventh oscar nomination for "fences." this is all happening at a time when the oscars are being criticized for lack of diversity. i'm just wondering, what do... what do you think about that? >> washington: i don't have to think about it. i've lived it. i've been the guy at the oscars without my name being called. i've been the guy at the oscars when my name is called. i've been the guy at the oscars when everybody thought they was gonna call my name, and they didn't. i've... i've lived it. >> whitaker: so, what... what would you say to the people who are looking at this process and saying it's unfair? >> washington: yeah, and so what? you going to give up? if you're looking for an excuse, you'll find one. >> whitaker: in race? >> washington: you can find it wherever you like. can't live like that. just do the best you can do. >> whitaker: so, what's next? i mean, are you enjoying this, directing? >> washington: i won't be directing anytime soon. >> whitaker: you will not be? >> washington: no. no. >> whitaker: going back to the acting? >> washington: what's your first name? >> whitaker: ( laughs ) bill. >> washington: right. put a "s" on it. ( laughs )
>> whitaker: got to pay a couple of 'em. >> washington: that's... that's correct. >> whitaker: acting pays the bills, so... >> washington: acting pays the bills. do what you've got to do so that you can do what you want to do. i've just done what i wanted to do, now i've got to get back to what i've got to do. >> cbs sports update is brought to you by ford division. i'm james brown with scores from nfl today. pittsburgh and baltimore win to set up a christmas day showdown for the avs -- a.f.c. north. back-up quarterback leads houston to victory from 13 down to retain their a.f.c. south lead. green bay controls its playoff destiny with its win. new england clinches the a.f.c. east and a first-round buy. for the more sports news and scores gosh, to cbssports.com. e. ford, the brand with the most 5-star ratings... the highest owner loyalty... and award-winning value
from kelley blue book. giving drivers what matters most. that's how you become america's best-selling brand. shop now during the ford year end event. get a thousand dollars ford smart bonus cash on select models, on top of all other great offers. see your local ford dealer today. you don't have to pay a lot to get a lot. at cricket wireless, plans now start at $30/mo. monthly taxes and fees included. and we have more 4g lte coverage than t-mobile or sprint. cricket wireless. something to smile about. okay everybody... thatwrap?!rap! i forgot to wrap my presents! i forgot to get presents! what? no, no, no! what do we do? don't worry guys! hey siri, is target the place to get last minute deals?
>> pelley: in the mail this week, conflicting views of last sunday's interview with israeli prime minister benjamin netanyahu. i'm scott pelley. we'll be back next week with another edition of "60 minutes." tomorrow, be sure to watch "cbs this morning," and i'll see you on the "cbs evening news." best buy makes the holidays easy by helping you pick the right device with verizon. why, if we made the holidays any easier,
("jingle bells" plays) merry christmas to you, sir. thanks. god bless. hey! (groans) woman: help! (indistinct chatter) gotcha! wait. stop! we've got a runner. dispatcher: copy that. on foot? yeah. stand by. sending backup. yeah. 10-4. i'm sorry he got away, but i've alerted lapd. thanks. you her husband? boyfriend. who is apparently getting one less gift this year. hey, you want me to call an ambulance?