The pandemic has essentially brought Hollywood to a standstill. However, Zendaya and John David Washington managed to secretly film an entire project during the worldwide lockdown. Making it the first feature film to complete production during the coronavirus pandemic.
Birth of an idea
HBO’s Euphoria was forced to shut down production for its season 2, on March 16. It was then that Zendaya rang up the show’s creator, Sam Levinson, to ask if he would be able to write and direct a movie during the quarantine.
The idea was brought to life and the filmmaker was ready with a draft of Malcolm & Marie six days later.
Sam kept picturing John David Washington as Malcolm during the writing process. Washington, who will also appear in the highly anticipated Christopher Nolan film, Tenet, agreed to play the role of Malcolm.
The film was funded entirely by Zendaya, her co-star John David Washington and producer Kevin Turen. Since the production was self-financed, there are no announcements about a release date or distributor just yet.
How it all happened : Behind the scenes and strict health guidelines
The project has a number of producers including Kevin Turin and the director’s production partner and wife Ashley Levinson. The team worked with a group of doctors and lawyers to ensure they were meeting all the requirements that would be necessary for the film to legally go into production.
The entire film was shot from June 17 to July 2 at an environmentally conscious, state of the art house in Carmel, California. Thus, they had enough space to film and distance from the outside world. Once production was underway, there were a myriad of health guidelines the team had to follow. Before filming began, the cast and crew took “multiple” COVID-19 tests, after which they quarantined for two weeks. Everyone wore masks and social distanced from one another. The group lived in separate units, and nobody was allowed to leave. Sources revealed that the group rehearsed “in the parking lot” and ate dinners prepared by a chef who was also quarantining alongside them.
When filming commenced
When filming began, temperature checks were required before and after filming, and crew members had to wear protective gear if they got close to actors. The actors had to take care of their own costumes to cut down on contact with others. No more than 12 people were allowed on set at any given time, and the team made use of video calls when they could. Sets were sanitized, and no outside food was allowed. The group was instructed to stay six feet away at all times if possible, and cast members had to mic themselves.
Zendaya’s Steamy black and white announcement.
Zendaya has since posted a still from the movie. A black and white image of herself and John David Washington sharing an intimate moment, which she simply captioned with the movie’s title.
Malcolm & Marie’s synopsis is being closely guarded, but the film supposedly shares some similarities with Netflix’s Marriage Story. “while resonating a number of social themes that the world is experiencing right now.”
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