The Advice Denzel Washington Gave Tenet's John David Washington When He Started Acting

Tenet John David Washington looking at a bullet hole in a window

John David Washington has been on quite the run the past couple of years. With his role in HBO’s hit drama Ballers, as well the lead in Spike Lee’s Academy Award winning biopic BlacKkKlansman, his career has brought him to the point he’s currently at, awaiting the release of what could be the biggest film on his resume thus far: Tenet. And throughout his working life, John David has forged ahead to try and make it on his own steam, as the career of his father Denzel Washington could have been enough of an in for him to make it in life.

What the young actor did take from his father was some important advice, which is backed by the family work ethic of keeping one’s nose to the grindstone. As he spoke with fashion blog Mr. Porter, John David Washington revealed this fact, as well as the following advice from his father on the importance of working hard:

It doesn’t even guarantee you will make it, but if you don’t, you can almost guarantee that you won’t.

While his adult years as an actor started after his career as a pro-football player had come to an end, John David Washington actually got a head start with two roles as a child actor in some of his father’s films. Both Malcolm X and Devil in a Blue Dress saw Denzel Washington working with John David, though in smaller bit parts. Ultimately, in an effort to try and find another career besides the seemingly family business, John David Washington played football. But eventually he heeded the call, and his father’s advice, and the hard work began when he burst onto the scene as Ballers’ brash but introspective Ricky Jerret.

Washington the younger isn’t a stranger to hard work, especially in these times of crisis. The man made an entire stealth feature film, writer/director Sam Levinson’s Malcolm and Marie, alongside co-star Zendaya-- even with most of the industry shut down and waiting to resume work. Then, of course, there’s the press tour and ensuing premieres that John David Washington will have to embark on for Christopher Nolan’s Tenet.

One could even assume duties so routine as those will be amplified to a certain degree, as the continual postponement of Tenet’s theatrical release still has the film billed as one of the first big anticipated blockbusters of the year. With the theoretical reopening of major movie theaters, where permitted, towards the end of August/beginning of September; Tenet is going to need as much muscle behind it as one could get.

There’s an adage that says, “the hard work puts you where the good luck can find you.” But looking at both John David Washington’s career, as well as that of his father, you can see that in this case; their work has pushed past the luck and landed them right where they belong. Which makes the news that Tenet is slated to open in theaters very soon all the more exciting. The film will debut internationally on August 26th, with a limited domestic debut to follow on September 3rd.

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.