Exclusive: “BlackkKlansman” Star John David Washington Talks New Film, Black Policing & His Famous Father Denzel

- By Bossip Staff

David Washington stars as Ron Stallworth in Spike Lee’s BlacKkKlansman, a Focus Features release.Credit: David Lee / Focus Features

“BlackkKlansman” In Theaters August 10

The star of new Spike Lee movie “BlackkKlansman” said he was elated to star in a film that tells the story of a little known, but true piece of American history.

Directed by Spike Lee, “BlackkKlansman” tells the incredible true story of black undercover detective Ron Stallworth, who successfully infiltrated the Colorado Ku Klux Klan and even got close to the Klan’s national leader David Duke.

“I went to a historically black college – I went to Morehouse, class of ’06 – so I learned a lot about my culture and history,” John David Washington told BOSSIP. “But this one slipped through the cracks. I would like to see them dedicate a class to this, this man and what he had to do.”

We sat down with the star to talk about his breakout role, how his character affected his perception of police and whether his famous father Denzel Washington has seen “BlackkKlansman”:

BOSSIP: What surprised you most about this story?
JDW: “The fact that it’s true, for one. The first day of the table read, the real Ron Stallworth, he attended and told his story…And while he told the story, he passed around the (Ku Klux Klan) membership card. He still had it…for whatever reason, holding that card brought it all home, brought it all together. It made it more real than it ever was before. Holding that card did something to me, and I hope that’s the experience people will get – what I felt when I held the card – when they see the film.”

Adam Driver stars as Flip Zimmerman and John David Washington as Ron Stallworth in Spike Lee’s BlacKkKLansman, a Focus Features release.
Credit: David Lee / Focus Features

BOSSIP: What does your father, Denzel Washington, think about “BlackkKlansman” and your role?
JDW: “ He hasn’t seen it… (My family) have been supporters of mine for a long time, and I’m just lucky to have parents who are there for me spiritually, comforting me and being there consistently. I hope he likes it, obviously. I hope he does.”

BOSSIP: Has this role changed your perception of law enforcement?
JDW: “I had no idea what it was like to be an African-American cop. And I’m hoping people will get a chance to see what it’s like with this film. We need to start celebrating men and women who look like us who are police officers who are doing their job correctly. It’s a thankless job.”

*This interview was edited for space and clarity.

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