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John David Washington, in addition to looking a whole lot like dad Denzel, has also been bitten by the acting bug. After stealing every scene of Ballers as an up-and-coming football player, John David delivered an acclaimed performance in Spike Lee's Oscar-nominated BlacKkKlansman. And for your daily dose of "aw!", you should know that John David and dad Denzel Washington (opens in new tab)have a tight relationship—and that Denzel has been 100 percent behind his son as John David takes off as an actor.
Here's what we know about this father-son dream team.
Denzel used to coach his son.
Interestingly, John David Washington made a name for himself as a football player before he delved into acting. When it came to his father's coaching skills, John David laughed, "He's a great actor...He was getting into character with us, into those very long-winded speeches."
And John David has supported his dad.
As far back as 2010, John David was spotted on the red carpet, in this case coming out for Denzel's film The Book of Eli. John Washington even made a cameo in one of Denzel's early films (more on that below).
His connection to Denzel helped him get the Ballers gig.
According to Men's Journal, casting director Sheila Jaffe was having trouble (opens in new tab) casting a real player who could act. At the time, John David was still in the midst of his football career—and suddenly she remembered Denzel's son. Per Men's Journal:
She threw a Hail Mary and called Denzel’s agent to inquire about John David, who hadn’t appeared onscreen since he was nine years old, when he stood up in a classroom and exclaimed, “I am Malcolm X!” at the end of his father’s film.
And the rest, as they say, is history.
They were together when John David got a Golden Globe nom.
When the announcements were about to be broadcast, John David told Today (opens in new tab), "My father (Denzel) woke me up. He's like, 'It's time, it's time, let's go!'" They hugged and cheered when they heard his name, and called John David's mom to share the news. "They were in tears, 'cause they know their baby boy has been working hard," he said.
"We just hugged for what felt like for about 10 minutes," he told E! News (opens in new tab). "We just held each other." His dad received his first nom 30 years ago in the same category.
Denzel gives him tough-love dad advice.
John David was initially reluctant to be in his father's shadow. “If I try to act like him or make movie choices like him, I’m going to fail,” he told Men's Journal. “I love him. He’s one of my favorite actors of all time, but I can’t do that. Nobody can do that.”
And his father gives him short, simple advice, he says: “Keep working. You ain’t good enough.” But at the same time, Denzel always supported his son's aspirations—he just wants to pass on a lesson and legacy of hard work.
And John Washington has learned a lot.
Extra (opens in new tab) asked John David how his dad had influenced him. “He’s my father, so the influences of a man, how to be an African-American man in this country, how to honor the craft, to work hard.”
Please, please walk the Oscars red carpet together, you two.
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Katherine’s a Boston-based contributor at Marie Claire who covers fashion, culture, and lifestyle—from “Clueless” to Everlane to news about Lizzo. She’s been a freelancer for 11 years and has had roles with Cosmopolitan and Bustle, with bylines in Parents, Seventeen, and elsewhere. It’s “I go to dinner,” not “Her huge ego,” but she responds to both.
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