Zendaya and John David Washington will star in one of the first feature films shot and completed amid the ongoing coronavirus pandemic.
The secret movie, titled Malcolm & Marie, reunited Zendaya, 23, with Euphoria creator, writer and director Sam Levinson, 35, who wrote and directed the new film.
Despite it’s under-the-radar nature, the film was made in accordance with WGA, DGA and SAG-AFTRA coronavirus safety protocols, according to Deadline.
Coming soon: Zendaya, 23, shared a black and white still from her upcoming movie Malcolm & Marie, which she filmed in quarantine with John David Washington, 35, and Euphoria creator Sam Levinson, 35
Shortly after news of the production broke, Zendaya shared a steamy film still to her social media accounts, which she captioned with the movie’s title.
The black and white image featured Washington, 35, in an unbuttoned white shirt with his tie undone as Zendaya leaned over him, as if going in for a kiss.
Malcolm & Marie’s synopsis is being closely guarded, but Deadline reports that the film shares some similarities with Netflix’s Marriage Story, and also references social issues currently at play.
Filming took place from June 17 to July 2 at the Caterpillar House, an eco-conscious house located in the seaside community of Carmel-by-the-Sea in California.
On hold: Zendaya stars on Levinson’s hit HBO serious Euphoria, which had its second season production shut down in March; shown in June 2019
Suggestion: Zendaya phoned Levinson up afterward and suggested he write and direct a movie for her in quarantine. Six days later, he had the idea for Malcolm & Marie, according to Deadline; still from Euphoria
The rush to make the movie reportedly began shortly after Levinson was informed that Euphoria season two was shutting down production on March 16, due to the pandemic.
During quarantine, Zendaya phoned him to see if he could write and direct a movie during the shutdown.
Within six days, he had the general structure of Malcolm & Marie, and he’d settled on a potential leading man: BlacKkKlansman’s John David Washington, who will also appear in the highly anticipated Christopher Nolan film Tenet.
Levinson and his wife Ashley Levinson, who’s his regular production partner, along with his producer Kevin Turen and the two leads, all agreed to bankroll the project during the initial planning and production phases.
Popular catch: Levinson settled on a potential leading man: BlacKkKlansman’s John David Washington, who will also appear in the highly anticipated Christopher Nolan film Tenet; shown in January 2019
Pre-production: The cast and crew had to take COVID-19 tests before heading to Monterey, and even quarantined for two weeks there; pictured in November 2019
Gorgeous: Malcolm & Marie was filmed at the Caterpillar House in Carmel-by-the-Sea, California. The eco-conscious house has a curving ceiling that creates shade in the summer
Eco-friendly: The extensive windows can be opened to let the breeze in for the summer, and curving rammed earth walls retain heat in the winter
The movie also gained Kid Cudi (real name: Scott Mescudi) as an executive producer and an investor, and EPs Yariv Milchan and Michael Schafer offered to donate their earnings from the movie to charity.
In order to safely work, Malcolm & Marie needed a lean crew, and everyone involved had to take multiple COVID-19 tests before traveling to Monterey, California, to begin a two-week quarantine.
The entire cast and crew wore masks during that period and quarantined in separate rooms, with their meals provided individually while the producers consulted with unions and doctors to ensure safe arrangements.
Once shooting was ready to begin, the crew was given extra time to sanitize the sets, and they built them in advance to keep crew members away from the cast.
Levinson checked in on set via video chat before coming down to shoot.
The actors had to take care of their own costumes to cut down on contact with others, and all the catered food that’s normally available on film sets had to be individually wrapped, rather than served buffet style.
Deadline has included an extensive list of all the security measures taken by the filmmakers.
Taking the lead: Zendaya and the other stars had to handle their own costumes and microphone placement, and all meals were pre-wrapped, rather than buffet style; shown in November 2019
Coming soon: Washington is also starring in Christopher Nolan’s Tenet, which has been moved back to August after the filmmaker wanted it to be one of the first major releases of the season
The new movie comes at a busy time for Washington, who’s also starring in Christopher Nolan’s Tenet.
That film, which features an all-star cast including Robert Pattinson, Elizabeth Debicki, Michael Caine, Kenneth Branagh and Aaron Taylor–Johnson, was originally scheduled for a July 17 opening in theaters, though it has been pushed back to August 12 after multiple delays due to coronavirus spikes and theaters that remain closed in New York and Los Angeles.
However, the film’s director has pushed for an early opening despite coronavirus fears, hoping that the movie will make a statement that theaters are ready to open, according to The Hollywood Reporter on Wednesday.
Though the studios seem to have gotten their way by pushing back the film, the current spike in coronavirus cases means it may not even be safe to return to theaters by its opening next month.
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