John David Washington kicked off the latest episode of The First Time with the story of his first time feeling starstruck: When he first met Morgan Freeman.
“I had watched the movie Glory just a thousand times, plus and I had every line memorized,” Washington recalled. “I knew every character, all the backstories. I knew the war sequences. When I got to meet him, finally, I just lost it. I wanted him to say his lines. I asked him for an autograph. I didn’t get the autograph, though.”
The Malcolm and Marie actor followed that up with his first time being recognized for his work, which happened during a trip to New York that coincided with the premiere of Ballers. Washington had been out with some friends when a man came up to him and said, “Oh, you’re despicable. I love it,” referring to Washington’s character in the TV series. “So I guess, you know, being despicable is a positive in the community. I guess I did my job,” the actor joked.
Washington also touched on some of his earliest experiences visiting New York City. One of his fondest memories was visiting his grandmother when he was 13. “I just remember how cool it was to be able to walk around the city like that,” he recalled. “We spent the whole day outside.” Washington also shared the memory of walking around Central Park with his family while his father, Denzel Washington, recited lines for Richard the Third. “That [trip] was the first time I saw him on stage. That’s when I really fell in love with acting,” he said.
The Tenet star wraps up the interview with what it was like to first read the script for Christopher Nolan’s latest film: ”I remember going to [Nolan’s] office [and seeing] all the Interstellar posters and Batman figures. It was like I was in his lair. It was amazing. I felt like I was behind the curtain of Oz.”
Washington says he pulled out his iPad, played some classical music, and read the script for about four and a half hours. “I kept turning the pages back and forth. I couldn’t understand how he was going to pull this off. And I wanted to make sure I understood what I was reading. I did not, until later,” said Washington, laughing. “That was one of the happiest moments ever in my life. Just in that moment, reading a Christopher Nolan script.”
Washington appears on the cover of the April issue of Rolling Stone.
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