In a new interview with CBS Sunday Morning‘s Kelefa Sanneh, the second-generation actor, 38, detailed his former need to escape his father’s shadow.
“Because of whom I’m related to. My mother is an extremely talented artist, and my father is one of the greatest of all time. He’s my favorite actor,” he shared. “That was intimidating. When we’re in the comforts of my own home and with the family, I felt comfortable. But then when I get to the outside world, it didn’t seem as simple to just pursue it; and I felt football would change that narrative when they saw me play ball.”
The younger Washington attempted to excel in football, playing in college at Morehouse before pursuing a professional career in the United Football League and subsequentially, the NFL. Despite working in a completely different field, his father’s name still eclipsed his headlines.
The Tenet star continued, “I think it was my freshman year, and I had a great game, and [they wrote], ‘Denzel’s son runs for as many yards and as many touchdowns.’ I realized then it was inescapable.”
After a ruptured Achilles tendon forced Washington to change careers, he pursued acting. Back in 2018, his father spoke about being happy his son was able to find a new passion and escape the potential dangers of football.
“He’s had I don’t know how many concussions, a broken collarbone, a torn up knee and Achilles [tendon],” Washington explained at the time.
Since officially beginning his acting career on Ballers, he has continued to star in films such as BlacKKKlansmen, Tenet, Malcolm & Marie, and more. Washington also has a role in upcoming film Amsterdam and will make his Broadway debut in August Wilson’s The Piano Lesson.
“Nah. I don’t see it as a reality for me,” replied Washington when asked if he believes he will ever outshine his famous father. “He’s larger than life. So no, I don’t think of it that way. I can’t.
Watch John David Washington on CBS Sunday Morning below.