Any budding cinephile will tell you that all it takes is the right director to kick off a lifelong obsession with the world of films. When it came to Jonathan Majors, one of the stars of Spike Lee’s killer ensemble drama Da 5 Bloods, it was Lee’s own filmography that lit the fuse on his cinematic education. And as he admitted during his promotion of the Netflix original film, that education started very early on in life.
While speaking with EW about Da 5 Bloods, Jonathan Majors wove an origin story of how his life ties to iconic director’s filmography. And in that origin, one of the most impressive details was that as young as three years old, his introduction to Spike Lee’s filmography came from the absorption of the 1992 epic Malcolm X:
… “ The first time you see a black protagonist, for me, a real black protagonist, it’s Malcolm X. Mind you, I was born in 1989. Malcolm X came out in 1992, and I lived in a black household, so when that movie hit we were watching it. We were watching it over and over and over and over again. Malcolm X was a superhero, therefore Denzel Washington is a fucking superhero. As a nine-year-old kid wanting to be a superhero, I wanted to be Malcolm X…”
Malcolm X was just eight minutes shy of three and a half hours, with an R-rating and two VHS tapes back in the day. So imagining young Jonathan Majors, carrying that movie throughout his youth and watching it obsessively is something that seems to have signaled he was always destined to work with Spike Lee. Which led to his powerful performance as Da 5 Bloods’ David, the young son to Deroy Lindo’s Vietnam Vet, Paul.
Engaged in a fickle relationship with his father, who one moment loves him as a son and the next considers his own blood dead to him, Da 5 Bloods sees Jonathan Majors playing one of the classic modes of drama that Spike Lee has employed time and again in his filmography. This troubled familial bond helps keep the movie’s story glued, as David and Paul’s story is one of the unique strands bonded together to make this Netflix original a film worth seeking out.
It’s the sort of story you’d expect to see in the movies: with a young kid like Jonathan Majors idolizing the works of a director like Spike Lee, and eventually making his way into one of his films and throwing fandom together with professionalism. In this particular case, not only does that story have a happy ending, the results are sure to be talked about for some time to come.
Da 5 Bloods, as well as Malcolm X, are currently available on Netflix, and Jonathan Majors can next be seen as a lead in the new HBO sci-fi thriller series Lovecraft Country, which is set to premiere on the cable network this August.