The COVID-19 pandemic has affected Hollywood as it has many other industries angling to get back to normal, and it appears that one filmmaker has gotten the jump in that regard. Sam Levinson, the creator of HBO’s Euphoria, secretly filmed Malcolm & Marie with Zendaya and John David Washington, perhaps becoming the first production to wrap since the onset of the pandemic.
Deadline exclusively reports via its Reopening Hollywood series that Levison filmed Malcolm & Marie over the course of a few weeks at the Caterpillar House, which the outlet writes is “an environmentally conscious glass architectural marvel in Carmel, CA – all compliant with WGA, DGA and SAG-AFTRA approvals and COVID-19 safety protocols.”
The outlet adds that the film’s plot, while not fully revealed, will echo the themes of Netflix’s acclaimed Marriage Story but with the backdrop of the nation’s current social and political climate.
How exactly did Malcolm & Marie spring so quickly into production?
On Monday, March 16, Levinson received the call from HBO that Euphoria’s Season 2 had to shut down. I understand that one night during quarantine, Zendaya phoned him and asked if he could write and direct a movie during quarantine. Within six days, Levinson had cracked Malcolm & Marie. When it came to thinking about who could spar with Zendaya, Levinson kept seeing and hearing in his head BlacKkKlansman Golden Globe nominee and Tenet star Washington.
Given the filmmaker and the cast’s focus to tell stories in a safe way during uncertain times, Levinson, his production partner and wife Ashley Levinson (producer of Bombshell, EP of Green Knight, co-EP of Queen & Slim), longtime producer Kevin Turen, Washington and Zendaya took it upon themselves to bankroll Malcolm & Marie during pre-production and production.
The team worked tirelessly and safely as evidenced by Deadline’s excellent breakdown on how movie-making will most likely be handled from this point forward in a world ravaged by the realities of COVID-19. The crew consistently tested and worked together to bring the work to life, and they worked in tandem with doctors and legal staff to ensure the safety of all.
Listed as one of the executive producers is Scott “Kid Cudi” Mescudi, who last appeared in front of the camera for HBO’s Westworld. A timeline for Malcolm & Marie wasn’t shared by Deadline but they assert that the film very well might be the first to wrap production during the shutdown although other studio houses have been returning to work as well.
Zendaya starred in Euphoria, which has been renewed for a second season. John David Washington, who starred on HBO’s Ballers series, will be the lead in Christopher Nolan’s sci-fi drama Tenet later this summer.