Surprise! A movie starring Zendaya and John David Washington was made in quarantine

A new movie starring Zendaya has been filmed in quarantine.
(Jordan Strauss / Invision/Associated Press)

The internet has been in a state of euphoria upon learning that a new movie starring Zendaya and John David Washington was filmed amid the COVID-19 pandemic.

On Wednesday, Zendaya shared an intimate, black-and-white still from the film, titled “Malcolm & Marie,” which sees her character gazing into the eyes of Washington’s. According to Deadline, the project was shot by “Euphoria” showrunner Sam Levinson between June 17 and July 2 at Carmel’s glassy Caterpillar House.

A representative for Levinson and Washington also confirmed the news Thursday to the Los Angeles Times.


Leading up to production, the cast and a small crew followed a doctor- and union-approved safety protocol involving multiple COVID-19 tests and a strict two-week quarantine period in Monterey. Per Deadline, Levinson began developing the project at the request of Zendaya, who asked if Levinson could write and direct a film in quarantine.

During the shoot, no more than a dozen people were allowed on set at any given time, and temperature checks were administered at the beginning and end of each day. To limit contact, the actors were in charge of costuming and attaching microphones to themselves, only interacting with crew members wearing personal protective equipment.

“Malcolm & Marie” is a filmmaking anomaly as most movie, TV and theater productions continue to be stalled around the globe because of the public health emergency. Last month, Hollywood’s unions published detailed rules to which sets are expected to adhere once filming begins to resume.

The new protocol, similar to “Malcolm & Marie,” includes the implementation of a health safety supervisor on set, frequent COVID-19 testing and the creation of “zones” for those in the cast and crew whose jobs prevent them from social distancing or wearing PPE.

With safety protocols set forth by Hollywood unions and the state of California, the film and TV industry is hoping to get back to work.

June 12, 2020

Among the executive producers on “Malcolm & Marie” are Zendaya, Washington and rapper Kid Cudi. While plot details are scarce, Deadline reports that the film “has some echoes of Netflix’s ‘Marriage Story.’”

Up next, Washington is set to star in Christopher Nolan’s highly anticipated and repeatedly delayed “Tenet,” while Zendaya will appear alongside Timothée Chalamet in Denis Villeneuve’s forthcoming film adaptation of “Dune.”