To be a filmmaker or one who is trying to get into the film industry feels pretty defeatist right now. Since coronavirus has basically every production at a standstill, it seems like we may not see new media for some time…but maybe there’s a way – Zendaya and John David Washington certainly seem to have found one.
The stars of Euphoria and BlacKkKlansman, respectively, recently teamed up to film a “secret movie” together during this current period of quarantine. The film is called Malcolm & Marie, written and directed by Euphoria creator Sam Levinson. According to reports, filming began mid-June and concluded last week – a mere 16 days of shooting, for a feature-length film, no less. The film sprang from production for Euphoria‘s second season being cut by the outbreak. Reportedly, Zendaya called up Levinson and asked if it would be possible to shoot a film together during quarantine.
Levinson and company wanted to be absolutely sure their shoot would be safe for the cast and crew, and worked with doctors and other professionals to ensure their set would not be a contamination risk. The production crew was kept small, with no more than 12 on set at any given time, and with everyone covering multiple positions. And of course, they were all extensively tested for coronavirus and wore masks. The shoot was contained to one location – the Caterpillar House in Carmel, California. During production, no one was allowed to leave the property, with each actor and crew member staying in their own designated dwelling with their own HVAC unit.
None of the cast or creative team have told the press anything about the plot of the film, but Zendaya did release a steamy photo of her and Washington onset together on Twitter. Could this be the beginning for a new era of filmmaking? Or is it hubristic to believe that actors and directors can go on with their work despite a pandemic?