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Actor Denzel Washington and his wife Pauletta Pearson Washington at the 70th Annual Golden Globe Awards. Picture: AP

Denzel Washington regrets his wild behaviour as a youth.

The Oscar-winning actor plays a debauched alcoholic pilot in his new drama 'Flight' and found getting into character made him think about the reckless decisions he made in his own past like drink driving after a night out and putting other people's lives at risk.

Asked whether he has ever had an addictive personality, he said: "I'm still here. I think we all have some point in our lives where we've gone too far and you have to come back.

"Any time you've got into a car and you've had too much to drink and you put other people's lives at risk.

"I'm not going to tell you I've not been guilty of that in my life, especially in my youth. Obviously nothing like this guy, I wouldn't want to be this guy."

The 58-year-old actor - who has four adult children with his wife Pauletta - also revealed he imposed a strict booze ban on himself for the duration of Robert Zemeckis' film because he tried to approach the character in a focused way and didn't want to emulate his troubled alter ego's behaviour.

Denzel told the Sunday Telegraph newspaper's Seven magazine: "I absolutely did not drink the whole picture.

"Normally I might have a glass of wine after work or something like that. But on this one I was afraid I might get too into it, and I just wanted to be clear.

"I want to give 100 per cent of myself and I want to be focused.

"Nothing would have been worse than drinking on set. And then you might think you were good and you'd be awful."