John David Washington talks family, football and his amazing year

Washington appears on "Popcorn With Peter Travers" and talks about his new film, "Monsters and Men."
19:21 | 10/10/18

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Transcript for John David Washington talks family, football and his amazing year
Hi everybody I am Peter Travers and this is popcorn we we tell you what's happened at the movies yes. Here's a movie now called monsters and men cut before that there was a movie called black Klansman. And if you're reports man like I am there's also ball ours and they all. Start mag yesterday John gave us you know and I don't welcome to what do you do this. All this in. I mean listen I got these opportunities wonderful opportunities to express myself to this craft different characters what I would not do. As they pay for. Some of them do. The movies especially about it madcapped I would go to for the love doing the completed for the lobby is really. Speaking of La. You want now the poster boy for mothers everywhere. With. I don't know what show you fit this time in the course they ask you about your dad. What did he do you do. Gave this impassioned tribute to your mom and for what she did. Think you're going to be on Mother's Day cards. Love you anyway but advocates to pro. A lot of press around about need to be on the cards put. It was it was just an opportunity wanted to take to make sure who the bring the awareness. My mother and her sacrifices in which he did for the family from the and you know it's a strong union moment in my father you know and in I just that was that was argued the questions all tolerable mob fathers of the. Did she call you one day John David you're my favorite son but no don't do that she's the national now you know not what I know. They aren't. Members Q a Q okay in my acting debut film who speak a lethal to animals will actually it's I don't know that apple is your first is that what experiments out Wright is like the punitive. First he would. Write offs say. Should we be strict I think that's what we and by its second and third you've basically Cuba is don't know look past the radios another when it was. It's I just. Uncomfortable for things I didn't do are eligible for things no happened I was in the Lyndon house at that time are back from college and walked out. Ultimately those. I didn't do it. So it'll answer is when I got back from college things are changed the rules and regulations of housing and all that changed solo among them give out any names Mossad has got to. And and it just started a whole new way of living. Pulmonary and not giving at an Enid so was she the favorite in the man who got to Washington. Own no of course not. I the Clinton. And neither is there no favorites and now it's all love all cross board absolutely and that the Lynda Lopez the problems. Wealthy may think your mom all and it has never been on the show but you're dad has been for a the last decade you know he always spoke about. He would say first of all he's playing football yes the F and and it would be he's going to be in easy. But that didn't even in this valley sat there doing. I've never been rapid via a play football many moons ago a mom and I needed it I wanted to be there. Listen I and it would a lot of images very painful experience physically taxing on the body. But and all those life lessons in everything idea I've learned about myself is something about when you're in pain in excruciating pain. And you still got to continue the next play new teammates and depending on you for that play you can imagine what you find out about to suffer in the times of trial accumulation so. With its physical and all of that it becomes more mental than it is physical I mean uptake in. In a lot of hits over the years but I was due when it. In the name move them from my source of independence and and and for the team for the good. Of the team trying to win the game so all those life lessons on the stuff on learned that by now and I and acting. And while it might yet does this sudden routine since the same side so the united that is this mama locals Carl Watson of Atlanta bracelet. Exit what did after the didn't call us that you guys ever our new North Carolina I caught a shining star Carl while. The act you know got it waksal was scheduled to itself does is like to drive but anyway dot com get traffic dot org that a lot more units if they sophisticated like at night are just but all the rules although black lessons applied now in routine. And somewhat superstitious. Type who is from rituals stuff like that you know so this is it's it was great if you ritual. And Madden like with football it was also. Where it was it and stomach stomach where he prayer meditation. Alone on the guy now that stretches before takes the clown guys in the in the year and that and handle whatever when I was younger students in his home now on the illness. It's stressed before it takes in I don't Wear stuff weird noises and bought the Barton is just to get that adrenaline going and accommodate them all of that. It's rather like a good bar but I'll tell you really neck and luckily it undervalues did you go before the idea is something that's like a little good. Medical you've done it yet let him go if you bought. Like my. Left like the bar you know if they shut that dog. The bargain you bark and it'll be okay this to do all in the name of the art. All in all in the name of the artist will definitely happen mean because experience thing to me give monsters have been. Where your police and use had black Klansman your police. You're in. The Robert Redford revealed men in the gone for about ten enhance that you ready to let you blame your police. What's going on with that. You know these opportunities that couldn't pass you know on the news and in our thought it was interesting to get the perspective. Of an African American police officer detective you know. I I don't know if those in cinema those characters those figures are representative to great detail the way. These are and is now in these towns is particularly monsters and men in black Klansman so. In it was it was a great opportunity to explore and learn housing into a lot of a lot of a lot of information I didn't I didn't know. You know what it was like until I got to go on the violence it's Alan Gottesman a lot of time quality tower rock Star Wars so. It gave me a whole new perspective on how they do the job and their approach to it and you know the communication the communication and needs to be happening between. He notes millions and and law enforcement. Ron Stallworth and black has in this that true story this is 1978 this is this guy did it becomes a member of the ticket get it. I don't let the help of dozens of cargo at everything ready to go there. And yet even he experienced. Racism. With that his fellow cops and department in monsters and men I just look at the opening movies from and that's where you're an undercover cop. So you got a gun we don't know when we're watching you know who you are. What he he was in Maas is an and he was off duty. Thought that our duty but you know Leo's -- keep you know on the job it's I'm on the job that certainly was off duty at the time and who knows and a look it was alarming. The Anna when a gullies around long forgotten some guys chief Nigerian and Kaz and guys and they would say like I'm at times they've been pulled over you know like with in the year. You know it happens more often than you think when they're off duty and I found that alarm I couldn't believe that in on the mean even with the bat you know they still pool though so. I thought again that scene was important for me who that suspect character was important because of the information that would be an able to displace and automatically. You know of the the plied the the experiences of an African American police detective. And he he's holding it and that's that the impact of this movie is do I go and rat out. Somebody get at work you know a fellow cop to do this and it's. What's going on in the consciences can act. Well what I love about monsters and men is it's kind of questions the question. What is the right thing and doing the right thing does that mean. Keep your family safe and to keep in the streets safe. You know to me like there's certain decisions that all three characters who knows trip to count to different inspectors that they have to face on. This decision will impact my family. This decision impacts society. You know at least my immediate community which one to iTunes is one worse than the others one more righteous than the other. I think that's what I loved about the scope and in the film as it as it came together. Have you I mean you grow up. And I don't we viewed in the Los Angeles area grown in the valley in the that in balancing. Have you experienced any of that kind of racist behavior. I've been called the inward. When Palestinians though in North Carolina those like this there. That happened months again with car wash his car GAL I got today have a get well I got a deep roots over the North Carolina new North Carolina and how those for almost called in we're. Well was crazy though to me was. How casual. The man said it was it did you need to come out of this by their anger it was this normal normalcy of life he was like a throw. Like this is in the daylight you can look this up an addiction in this which fund BCA. A person in my description and that's what's scary about it Michael because of that noted realize what happen and they didn't. Occurred to me at night vision but like now that's. That's even scarier and that's would like David duke and black Klansman was trying to do normalize. Make this sort of an act in the regular. In enemy suits its society and I think that's in the morning news. When you look at black Klansman and you see David duke it's still obvious and he's such a pit he's just. It and you go to the but he the actual war when it's the person that he that suddenly comes out with that. That yeah it is the guy that she might even go to work with school or go to your local grocery store not even know. And you know and when and Thanksgiving get togethers at though in the inward around like it's. But this piece of cheesecake assembly has popcorn and on me and that's scary because again that integrating it into the way of life this is normal ways of behavior. I mean people don't come out of the womb hate you know this is learned behavior so when you just making it normal the way we're talking now. That's with a danger comes in because that's gives it longevity and makes a generational. Despite the fact by Klansman is 1978. Oh and had changed was slightly to the billions both it's a period piece has its contemporary rhythm to it and obviously see at the end. How he connects at all you know and again that that the it's it's it's it's it's an opportunity for us right now in this country to two relief fund ourselves trying to come together. When you know finding those words I think it's a great opportunity for artists you know for journalists. So to find the language to crack the code. And it and inspire these people that us the mosque a community society to fine the way of inclusion you know I mean. Unfortunately like the times of what the but we can find some great work great great you know artistry in writing right now as well. Reaches people but it's I let me realize it's likely lose your first director when this is orient Ed Snider to although not always Malcolm Mac I was six six is though in my grandmother's and it's in my dad's mom. Sushi she was in Malcolm X to so those it was a three endlessly would you commit Malcolm I'm not commit Graham Bell's bumpers line with that when they need the bug bit. No the bug bit me last saw him do rich of the them by the division the third sixth and our. War. Something like and they can't move would be put it if mother year old re actors' Shakespeare. We've seen that language to mean it was like. Again not my father would take me around my New York streets and he was recited lines which of our discontent nice to know some of the lines and Niles acute. And I know how much that talked at home in how we talk regularly than when I see him rehearse or on this date. With talks of different and I thought it was like it was like a magic trick. I. Outlets is still intrigued by that and I don't wanna that I wanna do that that India yet Allen that magistrate in the glory as well. I knew every line of every character glory for Christmas all one it was the blue suit and I want to take so much an embankment in his VHS tapes. I've broken the tape doesn't want to so much I wanted to loosen so that next Christmas I got both. Now that is killed planner. So you you have all this happening and yet you decide when your. High school college that you're going to be playing football. I got I decided we talked about opium warriors all and senior data on stage it sounds like you always wanted to do that. Always a whole is but. You know on Monday got things you know he started people started known him in in my life studs in his we. We moved from the valley with France's lose to the pong you know we he studied and treated different. People started this smiling anymore. You're not a mean and a I started question then why wise you know the sort of preferential treatment was happened wants them. In the southern idea by get everything handed to them so I started becoming. A bit angry and resentful. And I know Amman home person and I found this sort of well of opportunity than football too. To express my voice so I was in deep character. Provisional glittering night live at odd hours later I hate who I am you can't take this away from a got a helmet Osce don't know why yeah. You know businesses some Washington Cabell watching can be indicated don't know. What was happening and my success in the on the field the papers that the the stats we'll always be. Denzel watched in stunned runs for all of this yards and touchdown Denzel Washington's than makes the all star team as a last assignments and a felt so it was an escape. So I'm minus slugging back into put out so stubborn at that point because I've been I'd really got deep in the character and I was I was in the NFL I was doing all right. It took a major injury suits itself kind of force. So that's what ended it because you played in college threatened or have wild card and then basically you herb a free agent. Yeah never really got to play. They got open I got them that you felt it was a supplemental lead. My first start a guy. The rest for a 120 yards and a touchdown play of the week day here so I was I was capable I was able to deal with the right opportunity. But I don't think I wanted to form you know and so in the wants. I got that really achieved yourself what did you idea thoughts on my right Achilles I was doing an explosion Joseph and I landed I heard this. And and that's on this warm in my knows it it was it was horrible and but that got me. Into acting after that because and the four balls over of a friend of mine who was my agent and you Finkelstein he told me to audition for this football player. And I am all ball with Ayatollah not I wanted to study first in his and they American beauty and he then you're not gonna get what you need to learn. House who obviously you need to learn with failure feels like in this business because you told Nolan. Until the last anyway in football so Eagles were. God I could no hey do you look of people. Is that a little where your parents. Worried when you were played football because of the possibility of injury all the my case fit people's like. I'm actually glad that. Glad that you you've moved on whether to do so what they but it equality and it not for a while athlete but future. Thumb and I just the physical reasons to amended the financials you know like a lot of people don't realize that. The money can go so quickly enough Smart with it you know I was kind of conservative Lamar money the first check I got about a flat screen TV that was it up less than an interest and its failed so. Of the aerial Satan and I don't Adam I had the the lease six and expensive car on the lot of all the players in item how movement prints I was trying to hold it. That I did not when he cut out and of no one of the hookah. You know she's good attitude to go through like Lockheed are quite how cheap. Basically you're on the policy you'd like to Wear one of viable cost he. I'm I don't care. They might cut Monday night in my replacement models at today's idea the idea that age when you say that John David is your first name that existed on the John David is one I have no middleman. On the one in the family had come from the two different stores X and mom mom. Name me after my local David. And the grandfather John father Nina John David crow a football the Heisman Trophy yet yes they didn't tell us that being you mom mom. My CI's. Somalia's lawless who won this of this playoff game mode Buteau rivals. And almost and that's why the agent John they could do is strong you'll granddaddy envelope object because John David Cote asked the real reason football player. Not a lot of it. Oh we learned a lot what is usual business that happens to people is you're not the only person. Who has risen up as an actor who has apparent that names it doesn't have. But I think this whole notion its gains else doing it comes naturally in the beginning. But you've proven yourself man die. And valued them John David never been on the show not to be don't know it ends in song. You're but that. You singing. In monsters and then right at this believed that Al Green. That's called act England it was good actor because optional sing it but I can't let this didn't let it. Denials all me Ozal me houses of the war zone and we don't need all you'll probably don't know backs don't see it took awhile to update rip it took all their the so he got out all of they would get that. That did get one little one little and all men are you very close did not dispute. But I was able to girls and ago can you give us a free some little if any song it SeniorNet. In this and I know something. Soon. Houston is from noon is now bug so name. Two Nestle I don't know I do have done it more and let let go and autumn interim president to. It they shall yankees collapse. Outbreak.

This transcript has been automatically generated and may not be 100% accurate.

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