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The 24-year-old said she feels the controversy comes from people still seeing her as a teen, telling E! News: "I've played a 16-year-old since I was 16."
She went on: "You have to remember, also, people grew up with me as a
e watching, I guess, your younger sibling now, you know, they're grown. So it's hard for people to wrap around the idea that I am grown in real life. You know, even though I do play a teenager on television still."
Malcolm & Marie will be released on Netflix on 5 February and when it comes to John David Washington's views - well, he isn't 'concerned' about any backlash, with the 36-year-old saying it was 'him learning from her.'
In an interview with Variety, when he was asked about Zendaya, Washington 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. I was leaning on her for a lot.
"Some of the stories she's shared about what she's had to go through with Twitter and everything. I appreciated her wisdom and discernment when it comes to this business. I admire that.
"What I'm really excited for people to see when the film is released - they're going to see how mature she is in this role.
"We're talking about versatility, and [director] Sam [Levinson] and Zendaya brought both."
Anyways, my criticism of the film is that Zendaya could've gotten a male costar HER age. John almost 40 years old. It's tiring for me...
- Mrs. Chris Cuomo (@westsidemani) January 8, 2021
Many people have taken to social media to point out the age difference between the pair.
One wrote: "I like what I see will definitely watch it but I am concerned about the age difference. I even googled it 12 year difference. She looks great in the role but."
Someone else defended the casting of the pair, saying: "I'd understand the ruckus about Zendaya and John David Washington's age difference if she was like 18 but she's pushing 25."
Malcolm & Marie focuses on the relationship between a director and his girlfriend, which is tested after they return home from his movie premiere and await critics' responses.
The film will be released on Netflix on 5 February.
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