The outbreak of COVID-19 and the quarantine that followed hasn’t stopped some very creative people from doing what they do best. Sam Levinson, director of Assassination Nation and creator of HBO’s Euphoria, used the lockdown to shoot a secret movie with two big stars, Zendaya and John David Washington.
Levinson filmed a movie titled Malcolm & Marie, led by Zendaya, (Levinson’s Euphoria star) and John David Washington, best known for BlacKkKlansman and Tenet. Deadline doesn’t have any specific plot details, but describe it as having “some echoes of Netflix’s Marriage Story, while resonating a number of social themes that the world is experiencing right now.”
This whole thing came together pretty quickly, too. It was back in March when Levinson learned that season 2 of Euphoria had been shutdown. Soon after, he was called by Zendaya who asked if he could write and direct a film during the quarantine. Six days later, he had already cracked the script. Financing was secured soon after (including by Kid Cudi), and John David Washington brought in to star. New Regency Chairman and CEO Yariv Milchan and president Michael Schaefer came aboard as exec-producers, with the plan to donate any proceeds to charity.
As for the actual shoot, it was all done under the safest possible guidelines due to COVID-19 restrictions. The cast and crew all received multiple coronavirus tests before heading to Monterey, California, where they then spent a couple of weeks in quarantine. The number of people allowed on set was limited, and everyone wore masks, except for the stars when they were performing.
The film is in the editing room now, and with this level of talent involved there will surely be a studio looking to distribute it. Just look at everything Levinson and co. had to go through to get a little production like this made within the safety protocols. Just imagine how difficult it’s going to be for a Marvel movie or another blockbuster.