Zendaya has long since shed her reputation as a Disney child star, and at the age of just 24 she’s well on her way to becoming one of the biggest talents in Hollywood, and looks set to establish herself as one of the finest actresses of her generation. The Coronavirus pandemic may have brought the industry to a halt before she became the youngest winner of the Emmy for Outstanding Lead Actress in a Drama Series, but that didn’t stop her from reuniting with Euphoria creator Sam Levinson to make a movie.
When production was halted on the additional special episodes of the acclaimed HBO series, Zendaya and Levinson came up with another way of occupying their time. The writer and director cooked up the script for Malcolm & Marie in just six days, and roped in Tenet‘s John David Washington to play the story’s only other character.
The plot follows the titular couple during a tumultuous evening, with Washington portraying a filmmaker waiting for the reviews to roll in after the premiere of his latest movie, before the duo are forced to deal with some frank truths surrounding their relationship. A black and white romantic drama isn’t going to appeal to everyone, of course, but Netflix still shelled out $30 million to secure the distribution rights.
Malcolm & Marie only premiered yesterday, but has already nabbed the top spot on the most-watched list, which is one of the major benefits of releasing a star-powered original film straight to streaming when fresh and exciting content is at a premium, given the state of the theatrical industry. Reviews have been lukewarm so far, with the project currently sitting at 58% on Rotten Tomatoes, but that clearly hasn’t dissuaded Netflix subscribers from checking it out and making it the #1 movie on the platform today.