John David Washington didn’t want to live in his father’s shadow. That’s why he says he tried to get acting jobs without using his father’s influence. As many know now, John David’s father is Denzel Washington. Many did not know this when John David got his first major starring role, in HBO’s Ballers. 

In a new interview with Mr Porter, JDW says, “I saw how people changed when they found out who my father was. I used to lie, saying he was a construction worker or in jail, just to have some sense of normalcy.” JDW continued on to claim that he felt that people would just look at him as another nepotistic Hollywood story. “I felt like there was no way people would take me seriously, even if I was good,” he stated. “They would always judge me. So I hid who my father was. I guess I was protecting myself.”

After Ballers, JDW starred in Spike Lee’s Oscar-winning film BlacKkKlansman. Next, he will headline the highly anticipated Christopher Nolan spy thriller, Tenet.  “Hopefully, my work will speak for itself, like the early De Niros and Leonardo DiCaprios,” explained JDW. “Their work speaks for itself. That’s how I’d like to live.”