Here’s When And How Christopher Nolan Decided He Wanted John David Washington To Star In ‘Tenet’

Warner Bros.

Unless you’ve seen Ballers and/or BlacKkKlansman, then you’re likely unfamiliar with John David Washington, the 35-year-old son of American icon Denzel Washington.

Despite how short his career has been, the former NFL hopeful’s rise to the top of Hollywood has been astronomical, as he only appeared in one TV series and five movies before being cast in the lead role of Christopher Nolan’s 11th feature film, Tenet.

But how does a relatively inexperienced actor become the muse of one of the most important directors working today? Spike Lee himself — who directed Washington in BlacKkKlansman — recently explained in an interview with Esquire.

It was actually at the BlacKkKlansman world premiere where Nolan took note of his future-star. Esquire recently spoke to Spike Lee, who told journalist Kate Storey to pass this message to Nolan: “Dear Chris, this is your cinema brother, Spike Lee. I’m looking forward to seeing Tenet, starring the great, great John David Washington. Thank you for casting him and making yourself look good. Thank you for casting him, for hoisting him into the stratosphere. My question for you is: Did you decide that you’re going to cast John David Washington at the world premiere of BlacKkKlansman?”

Nolan responded:

“Oh, very much. By the way, it was a pretty intense experience to sit in front of Spike Lee at the premiere. And no, it very much sort of felt like destiny to me. That was an extraordinary screening, and the audience response to Spike’s movie was really electric in that room at Cannes; it was quite something. And I just felt a sort of magnetism there. It really was an important thing for me in terms of feeling like it was meant to be somehow.” [via Uproxx]

Long story short — this is just the beginning for John David Washington.

In addition to Pattinson and John David Washington, TENET — which is set to be released in theaters on Friday, July 17 — also stars Elizabeth Debicki, Aaron Taylor-Johnson, Michael Caine, Kenneth Branagh, Clémence Poésy, and Dimple Kapadia.

RELATED: The Cast Of ‘Tenet’ Had So Many Questions That Christopher Nolan Had To Remain ‘Very Calm And Patient’


Eric is a New York City-based writer who still isn’t quite sure how he’s allowed to have this much fun for a living and will tell anyone who listens that Gotham City is canonically in New Jersey. Follow him on Twitter @eric_ital for movie and soccer takes or contact him