Film

Zendaya’s new Netflix romcom Malcolm & Marie will be top of your watch list, with an inside look at relationships and intimacy

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Anna Brech
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Film fans, get set: Zendaya is starring in a new Netflix romcom that was secretly filmed this summer, during the height of the coronavirus pandemic.

The cinema and TV industries have taken a huge knock due to the coronavirus crisis, but at least one film has made it out of the fray.

Malcolm & Marie, an intriguing new rom com that was filmed in secret during the height of the pandemic in California, has just been bought by Netflix.

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The black and white film stars Zendaya and John David Washington as a high-flying couple in the movie industry whose relationship falls under pressure after they return one night from a premiere. 

A discussion about their past flings takes an unexpected turn, putting their love for one another to the test like never before. 

Despite its very limited filming schedule (Deadline reports that it was shot over a period of 15 days, from June to July), Malcolm & Marie is already being hailed as a profound and honest piece of cinema that weaves in current social themes in a similar style to 2019 Oscar-winning relationship epic Marriage Story.

The $30 million deal that Variety reports as part of Netflix’s acquisition of Malcolm & Marie certainly supports the idea of it being a must-watch drama.

Malcolm & Marie was filmed in one building in a city in Monterey County, California, as state authorities continued to battle the spread of coronavirus (the area has been hard-hit by the virus, with around 14,000 cases to date).

Depending on budget and genre, the average film set requires nearly 600 members of crew; a fact that makes filming in an era of social distancing a huge logistical challenge.

Director Sam Levinson worked with a team of lawyers, doctors and health experts to ensure that strict Covid-safety measures were put in place, and the set remained Covid-free. 

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As the creator of hit HBO show Euphoria, Levinson already has a close working relationship with Zendaya.

The star, who won an Emmy nomination in July for her role in the teen drama, recently hinted that the series would return sooner than expected after delays caused by the outbreak of coronavirus.

“I do miss Rue. She’s like my little sister in a lot of ways, and going back to that character is a home base for me,” Zendaya said. “There is a beautiful second season that has been written, but in order to do it the way we want to do it, we need to wait until it’s safer.”

She added: “There is an idea to do a couple of bridge episodes that can be shot safely but aren’t necessarily part of season two. So hopefully, we will be able to do those in the coming months. I can’t wait.”

Responding to the new Netflix deal for Malcolm & Marie, which was negotiated at this year’s Toronto Film Festival, Levinson told Deadline:

“I am so grateful to this cast and crew, many of whom are my Euphoria family, for coming together during such uncertain times. We felt privileged to be able to make this film together and we did so with a lot of love.”

A portion of the sale will go to US hunger relief organisation Feeding America.

There’s no news yet on when the film will air, but watch this space for your latest Netflix addiction…

Images: Getty

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Anna Brech

Anna Brech is a freelance journalist and former editor for stylist.co.uk. Her six-year stint on the site saw her develop a vociferous appetite for live Analytics, feminist opinion and good-quality gin in roughly equal measure. She enjoys writing across all areas of women’s lifestyle content but has a soft spot for books and escapist travel content.

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