John David Washington recently spoke with Variety about his new film Malcolm & Marie, and the controversial age gap between he and co-star Zendaya, which has been causing lots of buzz in anticipation of the film’s premiere on Feb. 5 via Netflix.
Washington, who is 36, said that while many have been worried that 24-year-old Zendaya was too young of a co-star for him in the film, which is a “story of love,” he hasn’t been concerned about the age gap between them. In fact, Washington shared that Zendaya is the one who held the most experience and wisdom when it came down to the pair acting out their roles. As he put it, Malcolm & Marie will be an opportunity for viewers to see what she’s really capable of as a woman.
“I wasn’t concerned about it because she is a woman. People are going to see in this film how much of a woman she is,” he said. “She has far more experience than I do in the industry. I’ve only been in it for seven years. She’s been in it longer, so I’m learning from her. I’m the rookie. I was leaning on her for a lot. Some of the stories she’s shared about what she’s had to go through with Twitter and everything. I appreciated her wisdom and discernment when it comes to this business. I admire that.”
“What I’m really excited for people to see when the film is released – they’re going to see how mature she is in this role,” he added.
The film is about a director and his girlfriend who find their relationship challenged after the premiere of his latest project. Though being released on Netflix and starring big names like Zendaya, the movie is said to be an independent drama that emotionally and intimately frames for viewers the intensity of tumultuous love. In the trailer of the film, the phrases “This is not a love story,” “This is the story of love” sweep across the screen as black-and-white clips show Washington and Zendaya showcasing a wide range of emotions as they deal with the highs and lows of their relationship.
Even though Washington wasn’t coming into the role without any acting knowledge, the fact that Zendaya was able to give him advice as the two worked on the film together definitely speaks greatly of her maturity. Whether people are ready for it or not, Zendaya is clearly trying to leave some of the “childhood actress” persona she’s gained over the years in the past. Even though it might feel a bit strange to see her in this film acting out a seemingly very adult, dramatic, and sensual version of love on screen, people can’t deny that she’s a really good actress. That being said, at the end of the day, she deserves the chance to further her career, especially as she grows both personally and professionally.