Working with "Euphoria" creator Sam Levinson and co-star John David Washington ("Tenet"), it was Zendaya's idea to explore this new quarantine life through the medium she's most familiar with.
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According to Deadline, even as productions were shut down across Hollywood, including "Euphoria," the HBO series' young star was reaching out to Levinson to see if he'd be interested in writing and directing a film during the quarantine.
Accurately anticipating that this would be a months-long shutdown, Levinson reportedly wrote "Malcolm & Marie" over the course of six days back in March and then immediately began with pre-production for the film.
The story is described as being reminiscent of Netflix's "Marriage Story," but more resonant with the new challenges and struggles modern couples are facing in 2020.
It was Levinson's idea to bring on "Tenet" star John David Washington to act opposite Zendaya in this story. The production team was small, to help ensure safety, with everyone quarantining for two weeks before filming began and staying on the property until it was completed.
And, to make things even more secure, the entire movie was shot in a single location, the Feldman Architecture's Caterpillar House, a stunning glass structure as memorable as the one made famous in the film "Parasite."
For practical purposes, the house's location in Carmel, CA was just far enough removed so as to provide distance from anyone not a part of the production crew -- and thus not vetted for health and safety -- as well as privacy for the film itself. That latter part certainly paid off as no one knew this was happening.
Deadline shared a complete breakdown of all the extensive measures taken on the set to ensure maximum safety for the cast and crew while still being able to put together the highest quality film product ... which they did in just over two weeks (from June 17 to July 2).
It's an incredible commitment and could help serve as a guideline for other studios and productions as they try to get Hollywood back to work even as COVID-19 cases continue to rise at alarming rates across the nation.
It proves that with a little ingenuity and a commitment to doing the detailed work of ensuring maximum safety at every turn, it is absolutely possible for visual stories to be told in this strange new normal we're clearly not getting used to.
While filming has finished on "Malcolm & Marie," there is no time frame yet on when it might be ready for release, and from there what that release might look like (theatrical, streaming, premium cable network, other).