By EW Staff
Updated August 13, 1999 at 04:00 AM EDT
Angelina Jolie, Denzel Washington, ...

Staying in bed all day doesn’t exactly sound like grueling work, but Washington says it was one of the most difficult jobs he’s ever had. Playing a bedridden, suicidal, quadriplegic former police detective who works with his partner (Jolie) to catch a serial killer, Washington had to stay completely still for four to five hours a day. ”You’d be surprised not only how hard that is for the body but also for the mind,” says Washington.

It was also hard on the director. Half of the movie, based on Jeffrey Deaver’s best-selling 1997 novel, takes place in a single room, the lower-Manhattan loft where Washington’s character lives, and Noyce (”The Saint”) had to experiment with multiple camera setups to keep the movie compelling. ”I had an ongoing offer that anyone who came up with a new camera angle of Denzel would get a case of Foster’s Lager,” says the Australian director, who’s no stranger to shooting in limited spaces, having made the 1989 Nicole Kidman thriller ”Dead Calm,” which was set almost entirely on a stranded yacht. ”Eventually, we just began focusing in tight on Denzel’s eyes.”

Washington focused on the role by meeting with many quadriplegics, including Christopher Reeve, and a police officer paralyzed by a gunshot wound. Washington’s preparation didn’t stop there: Just after whipping himself into shape to play a boxer in December’s ”The Hurricane,” the actor had to lose his fighting form. He stopped the heavy lifting and running and began eating anything and everything. ”It was like they told me, Let yourself go,” he says. ”I didn’t fight that.” Best of all, he didn’t have to go far to find the Foster’s. BUZZ FACTOR: 4

The Bone Collector

  • Movie
  • R
  • 118 minutes
  • Phillip Noyce