John David Washington Talks Acting, Following In The Footsteps Of His Famous Dad

Following in the footsteps of a parent known worldwide as one of Hollywood’s leading men can be quite intimidating and stressful, but for this former athlete turned actor, it was something he always wanted to do.

Former running back John David Washington, 36, spoke with the Wall Street Journal about his acting career thus far and being the son of legendary actor Denzel Washington.

“I always wanted to do what he did, always wanted to be an artist,” John David said. “I jumped in and hid in this football persona, this athlete, literally putting on a helmet to hide my face, hide my identity.”

Before becoming an actor full-time, Washington was a football star at Morehouse College in Atlanta, Georgia. In 2013, things took a drastic turn for the promising athlete when he suffered a leg injury. After an unsuccessful career in the pros, Washington endeavored on a different path, acting.

It didn’t take long for the athlete-turned-actor to land his first big break in the TV/film industry. Two years later, Washington auditioned and landed the role as Ricky Jerret, an NFL wide receiver, on the HBO series, “Baller.”

Although he shared the news of his audition for the role with his mother, he secretly held it back from his famous father.

“I just wanted to prove to myself that I could do it,” the actor told the outlet. “I’ll never forget how he expressed how proud he was of me. That was a great moment for me.”

After starring in five seasons of “Ballers,” Washington was cast as the lead role of detective Ron Stallworth in Director Spike Lee’s 2018 thriller “BlacKkKlansman.” In 2020, the seasoned actor starred in “Tenet,” which grossed more than $363 million worldwide during a pandemic.

During the interview, the 36-year-old Los Angeles native opened up about transitioning into a “dramatic” place for his character in the upcoming film, “Malcolm & Marie,” alongside actress Zendaya, Good Morning America reports.

The film, which premieres on Netflix on Feb.5, follows the pair as an imperfect couple returning home after a movie premiere.

“I went from the biggest-budget film in my career [Tenet] to the lowest-budget film within a six-month time frame,” he said. “I was like; this is survival, but hey, if this is the last thing I get to do, I truly believe in it.”

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