Zendaya Addresses Backlash on Age Gap With Malcolm & Marie Co-Star John David Washington

By Allison Crist Jan 27, 2021 8:50 PMTags

Last year, while Hollywood was at a standstill amid worldwide lockdowns due to the coronavirus pandemicZendaya and John David Washington remained hard at work.

With help from Euphoria creator Sam Levinson, the actors secretly shot an entire full-length feature film—Malcolm & Marie, a black-and-white romantic drama—and in order to find out how, E! News' Victor Cruz caught up with Zendaya and John on Wednesday, Jan. 27's Daily Pop

"I didn't know what the industry was going to look like," John, who plays filmmaker Malcolm in the Netflix flick, explained. "I didn't know if I was going to have an opportunity to do what I love to do the most, which is act."

Thankfully, writer and director Sam swooped in. According to Zendaya, safely filming Malcolm & Marie was the group's "number one concern," and with the creation of a "bubble"-like environment, they were able to get the job done.

Zendaya Through the Years

"Sometimes when you don't see the roles that you want, sometimes you gotta be a part of creating them," Zendaya told Victor. "So I'm grateful Sam wrote this movie for us."


Malcolm & Marie premieres on Feb. 5, and it's safe to say the Oscar buzz has already begun. However, some have been critical of the age gap between 24-year-old Zendaya and 36-year-old John.

The way the former Disney Channel star sees it, the fixation comes from the fact that "I've played a 16-year-old since I was 16."

"You have to remember, also, people grew up with me as a child," Zendaya added. "It's like watching, I guess, your younger sibling now, you know, they're grown...So it's hard for people to wrap around the idea that I am grown in real life. You know, even though I do play a teenager on television still." 

Euphoria's Most Talked About Moments

Watch the complete Daily Pop interview—including a game of "Fight or Flight"—in the above clip.

Malcolm & Marie premieres February 5 on Netflix.