Denzel Washington Recalls What It Was Like To Watch His Son In Tenet At Christopher Nolan's House

Some of the proudest moments a parent can have often revolve around watching their child branch out on their own. When you're a world famous actor, who also happens to be the parent of an up-and-coming star, seeing your child blossom on screen has to be especially surreal. Denzel Washington will tell you that his own experience seeing his son in Christopher Nolan’s Tenet was unforgettable – and not just because they watched the movie at the director’s house. 

John David Washington has really started to make a name for himself as an actor, which is no small feat given that his father is a two-time Oscar winner and one of the most beloved performers of all time. While the elder Washington has shown plenty of support for his son, that doesn’t mean it hasn’t been a strange experience to watch him carve out a career. He told ReelBlend’s Kevin McCarthy that when he saw Tenet for the first time, he really went through it: 

It was too weird. First of all, we went to Chris’ house and screened it in his theater. So I’m sitting here, now I’m watching my son starring in a Christopher Nolan movie in Christopher Nolan’s house, so there was a lot going on. I’m looking at my son, and I’m like, ‘He sounds like me.’ I’m like, ‘Of course, he sounds like you, stupid. He is you.’ There were so many things that I was experiencing as a father.

Denzel Washington having a “duh, that’s my son” moment while sitting in the Dark Knight director's personal screening room makes for a pretty amusing mental image. It also shows not only how supportive he is being of his son but also how down to earth and relatable the actor can be. Most parents have at least one moment where they look at their child and get freaked out by how similar they are to them, even if those moments usually don’t happen while watching the big budget, mind-bending movies they’re starring in. 

I would've loved to have heard the actors debriefing with the director after the movie. If the veteran actor's mind wasn’t blown by his son’s resemblance to himself, it definitely would have been by Tenet’s storyline, which even John David Washington has admitted he can’t explain. Also, I can’t help but wonder whether any talk of a potential father-son collaboration took place when they visited the Nolan home – that is something that could blow everyone’s mind. 

No matter what the future holds for Denzel and John David Washington, it’s cool to know they have a strong relationship. They can hype each other up and leave each other speechless, but also make sure to keep each other humble, too. Maybe next we’ll get to hear what the younger Washington thought of his dad’s performance in The Tragedy of Macbeth, which is currently available to stream on Apple+

Katherine Webb