Everyone is buzzing with anticipation for Netflix’s new film Malcolm & Marie, which is set to be released on Feb 5. While doing a press interview for the upcoming film, lead actress Zendaya discussed the controversy surrounding the 12-year age gap between her and her co-star John David Washington.
While speaking with Entertainment Tonight Canada, Zendaya, who is 24, shared that it’s understandable some viewers have been apprehensive about seeing her play opposite Washington, who is 36, especially since she’s played the role of teenager for a large portion of her career. That being said, because Marie was a character that was written specifically for her by her close friend and Euphoria creator Sam Levinson, she thinks Marie is a symbol for who she is now, in addition to the woman she will be in the future.
“I guess I kind of understand it a little bit because I have been playing 16 since I was 16,” the actress said about the controversy. Speaking on her youthful appearance and playing the part of Marie she said, “You know, thankfully, ‘Black don’t crack,’ so I probably sometimes look a bit young, but I am a grown woman so this was special to me. Not only because it was written for me, but I think it was also written to me, and the woman I’m growing into. I think that was hugely what Marie kind of turned out to be while Sam was writing.”
“It’s special when a character is written for us, you know?” she continued. “This is who he thought of as he was writing it and we were able to be a part of that process from the beginning, being able to talk with him for hours after — he’d write pages, we’d talk about it for however long — it really is a special experience unlike anything I’ve been a part of to that degree.”
“Yea I’m very, I’m grateful for the whole process,” the actress added. “I couldn’t have asked for a better role to take that step.”
In addition to being a part of shaping the character she played in the film, last July Deadline reported Zendaya also helped fund Malcolm & Marie during its pre-production and production phases, as did Washington.
When giving his take on the age gap between himself and his co-star last month, Washington said, “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.”
As of now, we know Washington will be playing a brooding film director who’s awaiting a critic’s review about his newly premiered film alongside his girlfriend, played by Zendaya. With Malcolm & Marie’s release only a few days away, only time will tell what real-life critics have to say about how the duo’s tumultuous romance plays out onscreen and if the age gap makes any difference.