John David Washington Shares How He ‘Rebelled’ Due To Always Being Tied To Famous Dad Denzel Washington

Denzel Washington in Apple TV+'s The Tragedy of Macbeth and John David Washington in Netflix's Beckett
(Image credit: Apple TV+/Netflix)

Growing up in the shadow of a celebrity parent is an unenviable feat, no matter who you are. When it comes to the career of Tenet actor John David Washington, always being tied to famous dad Denzel Washington caused him to rebel when it came to joining the family business. That rebellion would see John David turn his attention to football, which eventually prepared him in more ways than one to become the actor he is today. 

As he spoke with iNews, Washington elaborated on how his father’s shadow inspired certain personal decisions. With the legacy of the Academy Award winning actor looming above him, John David Washington chose football as his rebellion for these very specific reasons:  

I am related to the man. And I can’t do anything about it. Because of his position in the business, I became an introvert. I rebelled as a teenager, but I put that resentment into physical activity, which was football. It requires a helmet, so nobody sees your face. They see the name Washington, but they don’t know who you are. They don’t care.

Oddly enough, the game of football would help John David Washington become an actor after all. Despite all of the rebelling he had done, the time came where he saw himself ready to switch careers. By accepting that he couldn’t outrun his father’s career, the moment that John David’s acting career started was allowed to happen. By that point, football had set him up for success, partially because of the following mindset:

I came prepared – this business is all about rejection, and I dealt with a lot of rejection in the NFL.

That mental preparation wasn’t the only thing that put the BlacKkKlansman star on the road to being in front of the camera. In fact, it was his role as bad boy Ricky Jerret on HBO’s football drama Ballers that would put John David Washington on the map. So all of that time on the gridiron was not only a healthy exercise in personal rebellion, it helped him prepare for the intense role that would write his own ticket.

It’s not surprising that John David Washington would be so concerned with earning his keep when it comes to his acting career. Not falling far from the apple of his father Denzel Washington, John David has a very similar work ethic, and the results have spoken for themselves. Just as it’s easy to watch Denzel play the leading man, John David Washington is another natural when it comes to commanding the screen. 

Which brings us full circle, with a pair of surprises in the Washington household. As Denzel Washington was surprised by his son’s acting career, John David Washington is equally taken aback by the question of whether or not he’s officially a movie star. As both actors continue to enrich their careers, father and son co-exist as in demand talents in their own right. Now the big question is, will the two ever intersect by performing in a project that combines their leading man talents into one explosive act? 

John David Washington can next be seen in the currently in production untitled David O. Russell film, which is presumably slated to release this year. For more information on what upcoming movies are already announced for 2022, the entire listing of that playing field is available to those who seek it. Finally, if you want to revisit Washington’s role in the five season arc of Ballers, the series can be streamed as one of the best HBO Max series available on the platform.  

Mike Reyes
Senior Movies Contributor

CinemaBlend's James Bond (expert). Also versed in Large Scale Aggressors, time travel, and Guillermo del Toro. He fights for The User.