"Diahann realized she just couldn't handle it, physically. If we live long enough, we're all going to come to that place where we go, like, 'OK,'" says Washington. "Even I had my doubts in the beginning. Can I remember all this?"
Richardson Jackson, who was last on Broadway in the Tony-winning 2009 revival of "Joe Turner's Come and Gone," had acted before opposite Washington — they both were in Ntozake Shange's "Spell (hash)7" in the late '70s. He pushed for her to come onboard to play his mother, saying "I knew she was strong and powerful."
At 64, she's only five years older than Washington, 59, but he notes that a 32-year-old Poitier played Walter Lee opposite 41-year-old Claudia McNeil in the original Broadway production.