John David Washington addresses Zendaya age gap controversy in 'Malcolm & Marie'

Tom Beasley
·Contributor
·3-min read

Watch: Trailer for Malcolm & Marie

John David Washington has revealed he “wasn’t concerned” about the 12-year age gap between him and co-star Zendaya in upcoming Netflix drama Malcolm & Marie.

Shot during lockdown, Euphoria creator Sam Levinson’s movie follows a couple whose relationship is tested during a tense night of revelations after a movie premiere.

After the release of its trailer this week, some on social media criticised the film for casting the 36-year-old Washington as the partner of Zendaya, who is 24.

Read more: Movie couples with massive age gaps

Washington, though, told Variety that the disparity in age was not something that entered into his mind when he signed on the dotted line.

“I wasn’t concerned about it because she is a woman,” said the Tenet leading man. “People are going to see in this film how much of a woman she is.”

John David Washington and Zendaya. (Credit: Jon Kopaloff/FilmMagic/Steven Ferdman/Getty Images)
John David Washington and Zendaya. (Credit: Jon Kopaloff/FilmMagic/Steven Ferdman/Getty Images)

Washington 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. I was leaning on her for a lot.“

Read more: John David Washington doesn’t fully understand Tenet

Washington praised the “wisdom and discernment” of the Spider-Man star and said Malcolm & Marie will show fans how “mature” she is as a performer.

The two actors and Levinson shot the movie on a secluded ranch in California, with minimal crew in order to maintain as much COVID-19 safety as possible.

Everyone who took part in the production remained in quarantine throughout filming.

John David Washington and Zendaya play the title characters in 'Malcolm & Marie'. (Credit: Dominic Miller/Netflix)
John David Washington and Zendaya play the title characters in 'Malcolm & Marie'. (Credit: Dominic Miller/Netflix)

While some on social media criticised the age gap between the two stars of Malcolm & Marie, others noted that the same criticism has not been applied to other recent Hollywood romances.

Specifically, it was pointed out that the stars of WandaVision — Paul Bettany and Elizabeth Olsen — are 18 years apart in age, while regular screen partners Jennifer Lawrence and Bradley Cooper have a 16-year differential.

Lawrence and Cooper have appeared as romantic partners in films including Silver Linings Playbook and Serena.

Malcolm & Marie, which has been tipped as a potential awards contender, is one of the upcoming centrepieces of Netflix’s film slate.

The streamer announced this week that it plans to release at least one new original movie every single week throughout 2021.

Read more: Most exciting movies coming in 2021

Their biggest releases include the blockbuster thriller Red Notice, Zack Snyder’s zombie heist tale Army of the Dead and Adam McKay’s Don’t Look Up — starring Leonardo DiCaprio and Jennifer Lawrence.

Malcolm & Marie will be released on Netflix from 5 February.

Watch: John David Washington in Tenet featurette