Running back to art

24 September 2021
John David Washington’s successful switch from the NFL to the screen.
John David Washington

John David Washington is impressively carving his own career in Hollywood and stepping out of the enormous shadow of his Academy Award-winning father, Denzel Washington.

The eldest of Denzel's children with wife Pauletta, the 37-year old's return to acting in 2015 may have come as a surprise to many after a stint in professional American football. The actor has played both in the United  States and Europe.

In 2015 he was cast in the role of Ricky Jerret in the HBO drama series Ballers, a series which was well-received by critics, continuing for five seasons until 2019. In 2017 Spike Lee cast Washington in the lead role of detective Ron Stallworth in his thriller BlacKkKlansman, based on Stallworth's memoir. The film premiered on May 14, 2018, at the 2018 Cannes Film Festival, where it competed for the Palme d'Or, but was awarded the Grand Prix instead by the festival jury.

After seeing Washington's work in BlacKkKlansman, director Christopher Nolan hand-picked him to drive his spy film, Tenet, which was released in 2020.  Nolan was quoted as saying this of the actor:

"He's just one of the greatest collaborators I've worked with: extraordinarily hard-working, very, very thoughtful, and very considerate of everybody around him in the most wonderful way.”

Tenet is a Sci-Fi action thriller, written and directed by Christopher Nolan, who co-produced it with Emma Thomas. The film, which is said to have taken five years to write follows a secret agent who learns to manipulate the flow of time to prevent an attack from the future that threatens to destroy the present world.

Washington’s performance on Tenet earned him a Critics' Choice Super Awards, Best Actor in an Action Movie nomination, as well as a Favourite Action Movie Star nomination at the People’s Choice Awards.

His star continues to rise, and we would expect no less from the offspring of one of Hollywood's greatest leading men.

Did you watch his latest film alongside Zendaya, Malcolm & Marie? Drop your opinion on his performance in the comments section.

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