John David Washington feels like one of Spike Lee's children.

The 34-year-old actor - whose actual dad is Hollywood icon Denzel Washington - has heaped praise on the acclaimed director after working with Spike on his new biographical drama 'BlacKkKlansman'.

Asked what Spike has meant to him through his own life, John explained: ''He's given men and women of colour a platform.

''We're not just in this industry. Both in front and behind the cameras. So many people - DPs, writers, and the assistants that go on to be directors and writers - come from the School of Spike Lee. He's almost set up an Institution of Spike Lee. We're all like his children. He's just so encouraging about that and he's so supportive.

''So, I just feel like I'm a part of this huge family, and a part of history. I'm connected to a Wesley Snipes and I'm connected to Giancarlo Esposito because of the history of films that we've all been a part of with Spike Lee.''

John enjoyed a four-year career as an American football player before he turned his hand to acting.

And he's revealed how the experience of working in the world of professional sports has helped him.

The actor told Collider: ''Football helped me with confidence that I needed. It gave me a sense of independence and earning my own money and my own keep. That's what it served.

''It gave me the strength to be able to deal with rejection, politics, hard work, and being introduced to pain and embracing what's uncomfortable.

''Whenever you're feeling moments of discomfort, that means true change is happening for you. Understanding that change is a process, not an event, so it takes time. But, I wouldn't change a thing on how I got to acting. I got to it at the right time, especially because I love it and care about the craft so much.''