Actor in Focus: John David Washington

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Los Angeles born actor John David Washington may be most commonly known for his connection to his famous father (the one and only Denzel Washington), however, Washington’s 20-year career working in both film and television evidently proves his brilliant worth separate from his father through his (currently) small but very exciting filmography. Prior to his shift into acting, John David Washington was a successful football running back for the Sacramento Mountain Lions, and only in 2015 did his acting career truly kick-off and push him into the spotlight.

Known most notably for his roles in the comedy-drama television series Ballers (2015-19) and the Spike Lee-directed crime drama film BlacKkKlansman (2018), Washington has migrated less than subtly from comedy to drama films, with his role in multiple crime films stating his position as a strong actor whose subtle charm allows an instant connection between himself and the audience. BlacKkKlansman was the first film in which I saw Washington perform, and his portrayal of real-life protagonist Ron Stallworth instantly captivated me by both his sharp wit and authentic performance which blended so perfectly he even received numerous nominations for his performance, including being nominated for ‘Best Actor – Motion Picture Drama’ at the 2019 Golden Globes.

Alongside Washington’s incredible performance in BlacKkKlansman, his crisp acting style can be experienced throughout the breadth of his filmography, including the musical drama film Love Beats Rhymes (2017) in which he starred with musician Azealia Banks and the gritty reality portrayed in 2018 drama Monsters and Men. With such strong performances throughout his career so far, it was no surprise the brilliant Christopher Nolan cast Washington to play ‘The Protagonist’ in his upcoming spy thriller Tenet, which will open up a whole new side to Washington’s career.

The anticipation of Tenet rests heavily on not only the excitement of a new Nolan film but also the expectations upon Washington’s performance as the films leading man, having shown such brilliant skill in his previous works. Washington will be performing alongside Robert Pattinson, however, the film has given little information so far in an attempt at creating a deep sense of mystery and has sadly already been postponed three times due to the current coronavirus climate!

It is clear to see that John David Washington has been going from strength to strength in his short(ish) career, and personally I can’t wait until I am able to see his performance in Tenet upon its arrival in cinemas as I expect it to be one to remember!

 

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third-year film student & records/live exec 20/21

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