The box office may have taken an astonishing $30 billion hit during 2020, but the industry is slowly working its way to a sustained recovery, although Coronavirus cases continuing to accelerate and increase around the world is not a particularly encouraging sign. Every major production now has to implement rigorous health and safety protocols just to be able to call action, but Euphoria creator Sam Levinson managed to shoot an entire movie when restrictions were at their tightest.
Levinson wrote the script in just six days in a bout of feverish creativity, and roped in two of Hollywood’s fastest-rising talents to star as the title characters in Malcolm & Marie. Zendaya plays the girlfriend of John David Washington’s filmmaker following the premiere of his latest work, but their evening takes a turn for the worst when revelations bubble to the surface and cast their relationship in an entirely new light.
Malcolm & Marie isn’t going to be for everyone given the intimate scale and raw emotion on display, but Netflix must be confident in Zendaya and Washington’s ability to draw in an audience after shelling out $30 million to secure the distribution rights to an experimental drama shot on black and white 35mm film made with virtually no budget at all.
The project came together when shooting on one of the Euphoria specials was halted in March, with Zendaya asking Levinson if he could write and direct a movie during lockdown. Obviously, he agreed and the production hired a private home in California where the entire cast and crew lived during the two-week shoot, as well as quarantining before and after.
Malcolm & Marie is now being positioned as yet another Netflix awards season contender, and hits the streaming service on Feburary 5th.