Zendaya Talks 'Malcolm & Marie' and Playing Adult Roles

Chloe Becker

entertainment /
Fox / Contributor via Getty Images

Zendaya and her Malcolm & Marie castmate John David Washington got together for a virtual discussion on the upcoming film. The actors talked about their age gap and why the Euphoria star is ready for more adult roles.

Zendaya, Malcolm & Marie
Instagram via @zendaya

In the new film, John plays a movie director, Malcolm, while Zendaya plays his girlfriend, Marie. The black-and-white drama follows the characters as they return home from a celebratory night at his movie premiere. But, "the evening takes a turn as revelations about their relationship surface, testing the couple's love," reads the Netflix synopsis.

The picture faced backlash over the co-stars' significant age gap - Zendaya is 24 years old while Washington is 36 years old. Now, the former Disney Channel star shared her thoughts on the 12-year age difference and why she thinks viewers are struggling with it.

John David Washington Zendaya
Tibrina Hobson / Contributor via Getty Images

"Why do you think people were so fixated on the age gap thing?" asked Victor Cruz, who was interviewing the artists. "Because I've played a 16-year-old since I was 16," Zendaya, who is also a producer of the new film, replied. "You have to remember, also, people grew up with me as a child, you know?"

Malcolm Marie Age Gap
Instagram via @zendaya

She continued, "So it is, it's like watching, I guess, your younger sibling. Now, you know, they've grown, and you're like, 'You're not ready for it.' 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."

Whether or not audiences approve of the 12-year difference between Washington and Zendaya, the Emmy-Award winner is ready to take on more adult roles. And Zendaya has certainly proved she's got the talent for it! Malcolm & Marie will be streamable on Netflix starting February 5.