John David Washington wouldn’t use his father’s celebrity when trying to land his own acting jobs in Hollywood.
“I saw how people changed when they found out who my father was,” he told the publication. “I used to lie, saying he was a construction worker or in jail, just to have some sense of normalcy.”
Washington believed that people wouldn’t evaluate him based on his own talents if they knew who his father is. “I felt like there was no way people would take me seriously, even if I was good,” he said. “They would always judge me. So I hid who my father was. I guess I was protecting myself.”
Washington caught his first big break on his own in 2015, when he secured his first major role in HBO’s Ballers alongside Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson. Washington later starred in Spike Lee’s Oscar-winning 2018 film BlacKkKlansman, another breakout role for Washington that earned him a Golden Globe nomination.
Washington’s next role is for the Christopher Nolan spy thriller Tenet, which has been delayed a number of times during the pandemic. Now, it’s set for release in the UK and other international territories on Aug. 26, and then in the U.S. on Sept. 3. Washington is also set to star in a movie that he filmed with Zendaya during lockdown, titled Malcolm & Marie.
When asked about what he dreams his legacy will be, Washington said, “Hopefully, my work will speak for itself, like the early De Niros and Leonardo DiCaprios. Their work speaks for itself. That's how I'd like to live.”