- “Malcolm & Marie” stars Zendaya, 24, and John David Washington, 36, as a couple in a rocky relationship.
- Zendaya told People why she dismisses the 12-year age gap with her costar.
- “People often forget … [but] I am grown,” she said.
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Zendaya is over people thinking of her as a Disney Channel star.
That’s especially evident in Netflix’s “Malcolm & Marie,” where the 24-year-old plays opposite 36-year-old John David Washington as the two portray a volatile couple.
The 12-year age difference had some on social media in an uproar. But Zendaya dismissed all that.
“People often forget â€” which is understandable because I’ve been playing 16 since I was 16, you know â€” [but] I am grown,” she told “People (the TV Show!).” “I knew that, as I grow and as I evolve, there would be that moment where I could play someone my own age.”
Though she found fame on shows like “Shake It Up” and “K.C. Undercover” as a teen, she’s now showing with the HBO series “Euphoria,” which earned her an Emmy, and “Malcolm & Marie” that she’s taking on mature material.
In “Malcolm & Marie” â€” a film she developed alongside “Euphoria” creator Sam Levinson, who directs â€” Zendaya and Washington play a Hollywood couple who return home from a movie premiere and spend a night having a gut wrenching discussion that will test their relationship.
Washington told Variety earlier this month why he wasn’t concerned with the age gap between him and his costar.
“She is a woman,” he said. “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.”
“What I’m really excited for people to see when the film is released â€” they’re going to see how mature she is in this role,” he continued. “We’re talking about versatility, and Sam and Zendaya brought both.”
The movie delivers riveting performances by both actors, but especially Zendaya who shows a level of emotion and maturity in the role that her fans haven’t seen her display onscreen at this point in her career.
“Any doubts about Zendaya’s acting chops as a result of her Disney beginnings have been emphatically put to bed,”Insider’s Zac Ntim declares in his review of the movie.
Netflix’s Malcolm & Marie is available on February 5.