21 DECEMBER 2007

What better way to liven up a day at work than getting all your friends on board for a project. George Clooney did it with the Ocean's trilogy, while Tim Burton regularly casts good pal Johnny Depp in his fantasy adventures.

Now Denzel Washington has cottoned onto the trick, too, lining up pal Forest Whitaker for a role in The Great Debaters, his second stint in the director's chair.

Denzel also stars in the drama, which focuses on a professor's dream to establish a debating squad at his all-black college in the Thirties. Meanwhile, fellow Oscar-winner Forest plays the father of a student on the team.

And to celebrate their effort's best drama nomination at the Golden Globes, Denzel has donated $1 million to Wiley College, the US' oldest historically black college and the educational establishment on which the true story is based. The money will go to reviving the institution's proud debating tradition.

Photo: ©
The pals, seen here with cast member Nate Parker, star together in The Great Debaters, the tale of an all-black university debating society. In making the movie the Oscar-winners joined forces with another famous friend, Oprah WinfreyPhoto: © Getty ImagesClick on photo to enlarge

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