Denzel Washington recalls son (and 'BlacKkKlansman' star) John David reenacting 'Glory' for hours at a time

Senior Correspondent, Yahoo Entertainment
Yahoo Movies

It’s not an exaggeration to say John David Washington learned from one of the best.

The NFL player turned actor currently making waves for his breakout film role as the lead in Spike Lee‘s BlacKkKlansman is the son of screen great Denzel Washington (and another legend, he’ll point out: mom Pauletta Washington).

Denzel beamed when we asked him about the Hollywood emergence of John David, who also stars alongside Dwayne Johnson on HBO’s Ballers.

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“I told him, I said, ‘You know, son, a lot of people go through life, the dream of their life is to play in the NFL. For others, the dream of their life is to be an actor or a star.’ I said, ‘You’ve done both,'” Denzel told us at the press junket for his latest film, The Equalizer 2. “That’s serious. To be able to make the NFL and now [become a star].”

As a child, Denzel revealed, John David would study one of his father’s most famous roles, his Oscar-winning turn as Private Silas Trip in 1989’s Civil War drama Glory.

“He wore out a copy of Glory,” Denzel said. “He knew all the parts. … He would sit there with that doggone VHS, watch Glory, play me, then play Morgan [Freeman], then play Matthew [Broderick], then say my lines. Then I had to get him a uniform. I got him one of the little drummer boy uniforms. They cut it small. Then I got him a wooden gun.

“You could put him in that room and leave him alone for five or six hours and he’d say all the parts, and do all the scenes, and roll over. I’d say, ‘This kid’s an actor.'”

John David, 34, corroborated his father’s account when we talked to him at the recent New York City press junket for BlacKkKlansman.

“I broke the [VHS] tape, so for Christmas I wanted the blue suit and a new Glory tape because I knew every line of every character in that movie, so I would reenact it all the time,” he told Ethan Alter. “That was my go-to — Glory was definitely my go-to.”

Asked who his favorite character was, was there ever any doubt?

“Trip,” he said without hesitation. “Obviously.”

The Equalizer 2 is now in theaters; BlacKkKlansman opens Friday.

Watch John David Washington reveal the best lesson he received from dad Denzel:

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