Zendaya has hit back at critics over her divisive drama film, Malcolm & Marie. The actress was the part of a romantic drama as she starred in it as well as produced it.
Malcolm & Marie was released earlier this month on Netflix. the actress opened up about the criticisms that the film faced including the 12-year age gap between her and her co-star, John David Washington.
The Spider-Man actress talked about the age-gap in the relationship that was portrayed in the movie. She shared that she herself is Marie’s age and she thinks that their age difference is a part of the story. “I’m Marie’s age, and I think that dynamic, their age difference, is part of their story. She met him when she was in recovery [at] 20 years old. (And) she never really loved anyone or thought someone loved her the way he did,” she explained.
Zendaya added that it plays into her frustrations about not receiving the acknowledgment the character was complaining about. The actress added that her character feels she deserves and also unpacks something about her being young and vulnerable.
She said, “And that plays into her frustrations [about] not receiving the acknowledgment she feels she deserves and also maybe unpacks something [about] her being young and vulnerable.”
The Dune actress further explained that some backlash may also come from the fact that people have seen her playing teenagers for a few years now. She also addressed the accusations that the relationship portrayed in the film was ‘toxic’.
“What’s interesting is I think a little bit of our agency was stripped away.”
Zendaya explained that this toxic and unhealthy dynamic was exactly what they were setting out to portray. She said this is exactly what they wanted the audience to be thinking. Zendaya explained: “You’re watching the codependency, the narcissism, the ups and downs of something that has a lot of toxicity in it.”
Another one of the criticisms the film came upon after its release earlier this month; was that the film also deals with the issues that Black artists face in the film industry. However, critics said even after talking about this issue the movie was directed and written by a white director, Sam Levinson.
The Spider-Man star also works with Sam on the HBO drama series, Euphoria. She won an Emmy becoming the youngest actress to win the Outstanding Lead Actress in a Drama series; because of her character in Euphoria.
Zendaya shared that the collaborative approach to the film was taken between both her, Sam, and John. Both John and Zendaya had served as producers on the film. She said: “What’s interesting is I think a little bit of our agency was stripped away.”
The actress explained that it was Sam spewing things through them without realizing; that they are not only actors but also co-financiers and producers with the ‘Producers Guild of America’ mark. She further noted that she believes the writing of the film should reflect Black experiences.
Zendaya also noted the roles were written specifically around herself and John; and conversations took place between the three of them about what to include. The former Disney star shared, “John David, I and Sam equally own this film.”
The Euphoria actress has also joined Tom Holland and Jacob Batalon in teasing fans; with the title of the upcoming sequel of Spider-Man.