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John David Washington addresses backlash on age gap with Zendaya

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John David Washington has responded to criticism regarding the age gap between him and Zendaya.

The Tenet actor stars opposite Zendaya in Sam Levinson’s forthcoming romantic drama Malcolm and Marie, as a filmmaker and his girlfriend coming home from a movie premiere.

  • Read more: “Zendaya could steal the Best Actress Oscar”: the first reactions to ‘Malcolm & Marie’ are in

When asked about the criticism surrounding the decision to cast Washington, 36, opposite Zendaya, 24, Washington told Variety: “I wasn’t concerned about it because she is a woman.”

He added: “People are going to see in this film how much of a woman she is. 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. Some of the stories she’s shared about what she’s had to go through with Twitter and everything.”

Watch the trailer for Malcolm & Marie here:

Further elaborating on his praise for Zendaya, Washington said: “I appreciated her wisdom and discernment when it comes to this business. I admire that.

“What I’m really excited for people to see when the film is released – they’re going to see how mature she is in this role. We’re talking about versatility, and Sam and Zendaya brought both.”

Initial reactions to the film have said Zendaya “could steal the Best Actress Oscar from another Netflix contender, Viola Davis, for Ma Rainey’s Black Bottom“.

Malcolm and Marie will be released on Netflix on February 5.

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