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In a recent interview with Variety, actor John David Washington spoke about the criticism regarding his age difference with his 24-year old Malcolm & Marie co-star Zendaya. 

During the conversation, the 36-year old actor said very plainly the 12-year age difference didn’t matter to him, “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 added. “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.”

Washington went on to say he appreciated Zendaya’s wisdom when it came to working in this business. 

“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.”

Washington told Variety he is “really excited for people to see [that] when the film is released,” adding, “they’re going to see how mature she is in this role. We’re talking about versatility, and [director Sam Levinson] and Zendaya brought both,” he said.

Washington and Zendaya secretly shot Malcolm & Marie during the COVID-19 pandemic. 

“We were in the facility, on a ranch, which was this beautiful resort, with plenty of space,” he explained. Washington said he felt safe since everyone had their own cabin and got tested before they filmed. Plus, when it came to the project, it seemed to be an opportunity that was too good to pass up, even in a pandemic.

“For one, I love to act. I love writing, but especially because of the time we were in,” he said of taking on the role. “I get this script and a call from Sam, and he starts reading me the dialogue between Malcolm and Marie for about 10 pages. I couldn’t believe it. It was beautiful words I heard, and at the same time very disturbing with visceral confrontations.”

Malcolm & Marie comes out on Netflix Feb. 5.

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