The action scenes are impressive. After “Tenet” this is your second film, where it turns out to be quite dangerous to meet you in traffic.
And I’m proud that I always do most of my stunts myself. Not just the ones in the car! I used to be a football player, so I always try to use my physique in front of the camera. The word body language doesn’t exist for nothing, so why shouldn’t I, as an artist, also let my body speak?
Do you choose your scripts based on whether there is enough action?
No, not that either. I don’t see if I can run and jump a bit before I take on a role. Otherwise I would probably never have made my last film “Malcolm & Marie”, because I just talk instead of doing physical activity. But when it turns out that a role also demands something from me physically, then I don’t feel uncomfortable with it.
John David Washington on his German colleague Vicky Krieps
Vicky Krieps is one of your colleagues in “Beckett”. You say about her in the press booklet that you were so enthusiastic about her and her work that you sometimes took notes. Do you always write down what you see in your colleague?
That happens when I find something that I see really inspiring and someone exudes such a magnetic presence. Vicky fully trusts her instincts and her own truth, and I wanted to learn tricks on how to do it. Because I myself sometimes get entangled in my own thoughts too often, then the ease that I see in someone like you can quickly be felt. So why not take notes and learn a little in moments like this?
It was almost exactly three years ago that “BlacKkKlansman” came out, for which you were nominated for a Golden Globe, among other things. Can it be said that the film changed your life?
My life and, of course, my career. That was overwhelming. That hit me quite unexpectedly, probably also because I always make a very conscious decision not to expect too much. Once a film is in the world, I have no more control over it. Then it no longer belongs to me, but to the audience – and nobody can know how it will get there.
Spike Lee’s “BlacKkKlansman” was his breakthrough
But you must have guessed that starring in a Spike Lee movie was going to be a big deal, right?
Well, I knew that people would be looking forward to a new Spike movie. But that doesn’t mean that they’ll find me good at it too. To be honest, that actually increased the pressure for me. Because I knew: If someone fucks it up in the end, it’s hardly Spike Lee, but rather me.
One last question about “Beckett”. Do you regret that the film didn’t come to the cinema after all, but is exclusively on Netflix? Or are you not a moviegoer anyway?
I love cinema, and in an ideal world, every movie would first be shown on screen before it could be streamed. But that’s not how it works these days when it comes to the distribution of films. And that also has its advantages, after all, it gives a lot more people access to a film like “Beckett”. It is also a misconception that a film can only develop its full effect in the cinema. Anyone who remembers from the bottom of their hearts the films they saw as a child in front of the television in the living room knows that. Or in my case with my uncle in the basement, because he had a video recorder and a lot of VHS tapes on which he recorded several films in a row. I remember a film called “Band of the Hand” that I watched over and over and that had a huge impact on me. But I only know him from a small screen, I haven’t seen him on the screen until today.
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