(NEW YORK) — John David Washington says he felt like a student in a master class when working with director Christopher Nolan on his latest project Tenet. In fact, Washington says he learned some invaluable lessons from both Nolan and his Oscar-winning BlacKkKlansman director Spike Lee during his time working with them.

“They say never meet your heroes, but they’re exceptions to that rule,” Washington says. “I’m so glad I got to meet them and work alongside them. They made me feel like a colleague… like I was contributing to their vision. They made me feel like we were teammates.”

“And these men, who should have a tremendous ego — they deserved to,” he continues. “They don’t have to make anybody feel any kind of way. And they still do. And they still take themselves out of it and put the project first. And that’s a great lesson to learn from legends like that.”

Washington notes that it was Nolan and Lee’s humility and ability to put their “ego.. aside” that left him with a lasting impression. He also adds that the two taught him that in this business “there are no mistakes” as long as you “love what you do and you’re relentless in pursuing it.”

“If you are in service to the film, in service to the story, your ego’s left aside,” Washington explains. “And no matter how big you become, how much success you get over the years — which these two pillars have — they still have the same approach, the same love, and youthful exuberance towards the work that they had on their first films.”

“And that was a great lesson to me,” he adds.

Tenet, also starring  Robert Pattinson, is available in select theaters across the U.S.

By Candice Williams
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