Written by Charissa Roberson
On Sep. 13, Netflix announced that “Malcolm and Marie,” a new film starring Zendaya (“Euphoria”) and John David Washington (“Tenet”), would be premiering on their streaming service. This film, directed by Sam Levinson, is remarkable in that it is the first feature film to start and complete production during the COVID-19 pandemic.
According to an interview with InStyle, Zendaya told Levinson about her desire to “do something creative” after production was shut down on Season 2 of “Euphoria.” Brainstorming ideas with Zendaya, Levinson wrote the script for “Malcolm and Marie” in a matter of days. Washington was brought on board, along with a small group of crew members from “Euphoria.” The creators financed the project with their own personal funds. Between June 17 and July 2, this close-knit team worked under the radar at Caterpillar House, a striking glass structure in Carmel, CA, to film the intimate romantic drama.
Safety was the primary concern for everyone involved. Each member of the cast and crew had to quarantine and be tested for COVID-19 before filming began. The set itself was isolated, with only those working on the film allowed to be present. “We created our own little bubble and made sure that once we were in, we couldn’t leave,” Zendaya said (InStyle). The entertainment and acting industries had strict safety policies, but the team of “Malcolm and Marie” worked carefully with them, as well as doctors and lawyers, to develop resourceful ways to meet the requirements. Because the size of the crew had to be limited, many of them filled multiple roles. Zendaya, for her part, wore her own clothes and did her own make-up while filming.
While details about the film’s plot are scarce, Deadline reports that “Malcolm and Marie” will follow a filmmaker (Washington) and his girlfriend (Zendaya), as they grapple with their relationship in the aftermath of his film’s successful premiere. The film was shot in black and white on 35mm film by cinematographer Marcell Rév.
“I am so grateful to this cast and crew … for coming together during such uncertain times,” said director Levenson. “We felt privileged to be able to make this film together and we did so with a lot of love.”
“Malcolm and Marie” will premiere on Netflix at an unannounced date. A portion of the film’s proceeds will go towards the charity Feeding America.