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Interview with Zendaya, John David Washington and Sam Levinson – Deadline

The Netflix drama Malcolm and Marie, of Euphoria creator Sam Levinson, was one of the first – if not the first – film to be shot during the coronavirus pandemic. The idea for the film appeared after Euphoria shut down production and Levinson had a conversation with his Emmy-winning star Zendaya about the possibility of making a movie at a time when Hollywood was pretty much on hiatus, and Levinson felt responsible for handing his team over to job.

“We kind of had to reverse engineer it,” Levinson says at Deadline’s Contenders Film awards season event, where he was joined by co-stars Zendaya and John David Washington. He explains that he wanted to have only the two actors, and that at the time the only place they could shoot was in Carmel – the only place in California where you could shoot without a license on private property.

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The film follows the titular couple as they return home after a premiere of Malcolm’s film. As he waits to see if his film is a success, things change as revelations about their relationship begin to surface, testing the strength of their love.

“We knew there were some hurdles that we had to overcome from a purely narrative perspective,” says Levinson. “It would be two actors, a house and the idea [came from] My own life. It may be true that I forgot to thank my wife once at a premiere – which ended up being the starting point for that relationship piece that continues to unravel from there.

Levinson says he wrote the role of Mary for Zendaya based on what he knew about her as a person; she loved the challenge and had been on board from the very beginning. “There were a lot of ideas going around… and some of them that I wasn’t a big fan of,” Zendaya laughs. “He hit me with [Malcolm & Marie] and I immediately fell in love with the challenge [and] the possibilities of what might happen – and this idea of ​​stepping into my femininity as an actress.

When Levinson wrote to Malcolm he said he could only hear one person’s voice for the role and that was Washington’s. The two-hander is dense with dialogue and emotion that emits Who’s Afraid of Virginia Woolf? energy; there is nothing to hide behind. Washington thinks it was both scary and liberating as an artist.

“To immerse the two and make it a thought and a cinematic experience – I jumped at the chance,” Washington says. “Sam is a brilliant writer, one of the best in the world, and he has designed this exhibit beautifully about a multidimensional relationship.

Check back for the panel video.

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