“I’m still not out of his shadow,” says John David Washington about his father, Denzel Washington

John David Washington comes from Hollywood royalty as the son of actress Pauletta Washington and two-time Academy Award winner Denzel Washington.  Yet despite his own success, Washington says he’s still mostly known as his father’s son.

“I don’t even know if [people] see me as John David yet,” the Malcom and Marie star tells Rolling Stone. I’m still Denzel’s son. I’m always his son. So it’s like, the day that they start seeing just me is the day that I can maybe better answer that question about celebrity. ‘Cause I’m still not out of his shadow.”

When he was just 10 years old, Washington learned to recite lines from his father’s role in the Civil War drama Glory, according to his younger sister, Katia.  After attending Morehouse College, where he was a football star, Washington attempted to embark on a professional football career before tearing his Achilles tendon in 2013. Though it prompted him to focus on acting, the 36-year-old says he always “knew” he wanted to follow in his father’s footsteps.

“Acting, I knew I always wanted to do. But I literally wanted to get some aggression out,” Washington shares.  “The growing pains of being a teenager, the stuff I’ve experienced, being the son of someone. I could get that out here. I wanted to be productive with my anger. And I could use it as part of something positive.”

Malcolm & Marie is out now on Netflix.

By Rachel George
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