Zendaya insists the reason the 12-year age gap between her and “Malcolm & Marie” co-star John David Washington caused such a storm is because people still think she’s a teenager.
The 36-year-old Tenet star and the 24-year-old Euphoria actress play the titular filmmaker and his girlfriend in the upcoming drama for Netflix, and despite the fact that there are many more dramatic age gaps between actors on screen, the one between Zendaya and Washington hit headlines.
Reacting to the controversy during an interview with E!’s Daily Pop, Zendaya said that because she’s grown up on-screen, people still see her as a lot younger than she actually is.
“I’ve played a 16-year-old since I was 16,” she said. “You have to remember, also, people grew up with me as a child. 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.”
Zendaya’s comments come after Washington also opened up about the age gap recently, insisting he “wasn’t concerned” about it before taking on the project.
“I wasn’t concerned about it because she is a woman,” he told Variety. “People are going to see in this film how much of a woman she is. She has far more experience than I do in the industry. I’ve only been in it for seven years. She’s been in it longer, so I’m learning from her. I’m the rookie.
“Some of the stories she’s shared about what she’s had to go through with Twitter and everything. I appreciated her wisdom and discernment when it comes to this business. I admire that.”
– Cover Media