Netflix movie Malcolm & Marie has received criticism for its 12-year age gap between lead stars John David Washington and Zendaya.
Their characters provide an intimate and devastating insight into the mechanics of being in a relationship. But to some corners of the viewership, it's a taboo-tinged situation.
Speaking to Variety ahead of its streaming release, Washington (son of Denzel) hit back.
"I wasn't concerned about it because she is a woman," he declared. "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."
In further admiration of his co-star Zendaya (who'll show up later this year in Dune), the Tenet actor concluded: "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 Sam [Levinson, director] and Zendaya brought both."
Malcolm & Marie arrives February 5 on Netflix.
Digital Spy has launched its first-ever digital magazine with exclusive features, interviews, and videos. Check it out with a 1-month free trial, only on Apple News+.
Interested in Digital Spy's weekly newsletter? Sign up to get it sent straight to your inbox – and don't forget to join our Watch This Facebook Group for daily TV recommendations and discussions with other readers.
You Might Also Like