Washington admits that the role is a bit of a throwback to intimidating characters he has played in the past, pointing out, “Safe House was an opportunity to revisit ways of working that I used to do.”
Though Washington wanted to immerse himself in the role, he purposely avoided doing research on CIA agents. He explains, “I didn’t want to do a lot of CIA research because Tobin Frost wasn’t CIA anymore. He hated everything about the CIA, and I wanted to discover his dark side.” Instead, Washington focused on studying sociopaths, which he felt ultimately Frost was. He says, “Scott [Stuber, the film’s producer] gave me some great books to read, one of which was The Sociopath Next Door, which became my bible that I would refer to in developing the character. I felt Tobin was a sociopath. When you think ‘sociopath,’ you think violence, and the majority of sociopaths aren’t violent but they want to win and manipulate. I thought he was a great liar, a great manipulator and perfect for the CIA.”
Washington definitely pulled it off — I have even found his cold stares on the movie’s posters that are hanging in the subways around here intimidating!
Safe House opens in theaters on February 10.