When the original Black Klansman, Ron Stallworth, dreamed up the ideal actor to portray him in a film based on his life story, he had one man in mind: Denzel Washington. Little did he know, Washington's son, John David Washington, would end up with the role.
"My first response was Denzel, even though I knew Denzel was too old," Stallworth told The Hollywood Reporter. "I was 25 when this occurred, and Denzel is in his 60s. When it turned out to be his son who got the role, I chuckled at the irony."
The young Washington was also surprised when he received the call from Spike Lee, who's bringing the real-life story of a black police officer who infiltrated the KKK in the '70s to the big screen. Jordan Peele is set to produce the movie.
"I didn't even know he had my number," said Washington. "And he told me about this book, like, 'Sending it to you. Where are you?' I was like, 'I'm in Cincinnati shooting a movie. Old Man and the Gun.' 'All right, it'll be there tomorrow. Read it. Click.'" This won't be the first time Lee and Washington have worked together, after the actor played a six-year-old Harlem student in the Denzel-led film Malcolm X. Washington also recently worked with Lee's wife, producer Tonya Lewis Lee, on the Walter Dean Myers film adaptation, Monster.
It doesn't seem like Lee is showing Washington any nepotism either. For BlacKkKlansman, Lee only had one rule for casting: "Get the best motherfuckers for the roles."
BlacKkKlansman arrives in theaters on Aug. 10.