Celebrity Zendaya Zendaya Weighed in on the Age Gap Criticism About 'Malcolm and Marie' The 24-year-old actress stars opposite 36-year-old John David Washington in the upcoming Netflix film. By Kimberly Truong Kimberly Truong Kim Truong is a writer focusing on news, entertainment, and culture. She is a graduate of Fordham University. Her work has appeared on The Cut, Self, Refinery29, and BBC America. InStyle's editorial guidelines Published on January 28, 2021 @ 09:45AM Pin Share Tweet Email Zendaya is weighing in on the controversy about her upcoming movie, Malcolm & Marie. In response to criticisms regarding the 12-year age gap between herself and John David Washington, who plays her love interest in the film, Zendaya told E! News, "I've played a 16-year-old since I was 16. You have to remember, also, people grew up with me as a child. It's like 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." The 24-year-old actress plays the 36-year-old Washington's girlfriend in the Netflix film, set to be released on February 5. Washington has also addressed the age gap between himself and Zendaya, telling Variety, "I wasn't concerned about it because she is a woman. 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." Malcolm & Marie's First Trailer Features Tense Cooking and Good Formal Wear Critics have praised Zendaya's performance in the movie, with The Hollywood Reporter calling her "glorious to watch" and the Los Angeles Times singling out her "lip-quivering intensity." Here's hoping we see Zendaya showing out during Oscars season.