10K80 by Bernarda Chiriboga November 30, 2020
When it comes to resilient creative squads, Zendaya’s Team Euphoria takes the cake as we look forward to their new Netflix flick Malcolm and Marie.
The pandemic hit hard and many industries had changed their plans or re-organize them. One industry that has particularly affected was the film and entertainment industry.
Because of the virus, a number of productions were delayed or even shut down. Theaters around the United States closed, movies opted for online releases and some were even postponed. Film festivals were canceled or delayed, thus upcoming movies and indie films would also need to wait.
For months, the industry had held to calamity and burden.
Meanwhile, in the midst of all these disasters, Sam Levinson quietly shot his new lockdown drama, Malcolm and Marie. Starring Zendaya and John David Washington, the film is officially the first feature film to be completed post-pandemic.
On March 16, following the California state guidelines, Sam Levison received a call from HBO; Euphoria’s second season filming had to shut down. Like in the case of many other ongoing productions, team Euphoria members were left under the uncertainty of when would it resume.
Along with fans of the show…
Not much after, Zendaya came up with the idea of a film produced during such a historic moment. Being Levison not only the director of Euphoria — where she stars as Rue — but also a close friend, she asked him if he could write and direct the movie.
Six days after, Levison had cracked the entire screenplay for Malcolm and Marie.
Given the uncertainty of the time, Zendaya, Washington, Kevin Turen, and Levinson’s wife (and production partner) took it upon themselves the financial burdens of the pre-production and production stages.
Yariv Milchan and Michael Schafer also helped with the bankroll. The producers promised to donate their proceedings to charity.
Amid Black Lives Matter protests and the corona curve flattening, team Euhoria headed up to Monterrey County, there they had a two-week quarantine before filming.
The location was Feldman Architecture’s Caterpillar House. A 33-acre private property where not only was it legal to shoot, but also allowed the team to properly follow covid safety protocols and SAG-AFTRA guidelines.
Between June 17 and July 2, when the filming took place, no one was allowed to leave the property. For the entire two weeks, crew and cast members had to wear masks, protective wear (crew members) and socially distanced themselves.
To limit the number of people, cast members were in charge of their own hair and make-up and custom design.
“It was also a little nerve-racking. When you have an idea, and you’re putting your own money into it—I mean, I was literally using my own clothes on set and doing my own hair and makeup—it’s hard not to get a little bit insecure.”Zendaya, Elle Magazine 2020
Thanks to the shutdown of Euphoria’s season 2, a lot of the crew members were available to help with the filming of Malcome and Marie. One of them being Marcell Rev, Euphoria’s director of photography.
Thus, one can not only expect great writing, direction, and performances, but also amazing 35 mm black and white visuals.
“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.”Sam Levinson, The Deadline 2020
Rumors say that the movie echoes Netflix’s Marriage Story. Most importantly, however, they promise that it will resonate with a number of social themes that the world has been facing.
Be its performance, cinematography, writing, or direction, looks like Oscar’s first contender is here.
Naturally, distribution houses and production companies battled for its ownership. And, after a $30 million deal, the winner was Netflix.
However, it did not go without a well-fought fight against deep-pocket industry giants including HBO, Amazon, Apple, MGM, Searchlight, Focus Features, and A24.
In the middle of chaos, uncertainty, and adversity team Euphoria was able to pull a film that, undoubtedly, would be recorded in history the first completed full-length lockdown drama.
And, while the pandemic is still likely to affect release dates, film festivals and distribution deals Levinson’s team proved that no challenge comes without an opportunity.
After all, you know what they say, “the show must go on.”