Zendaya’s ‘Malcolm & Marie’ was almost a ‘K.C. Undercover’ horror movie

John David Washington and Zendaya touching faces in "Malcolm & Marie"
John David Washington as Malcolm and Zendaya as Marie in Netflix’s “Malcolm & Marie.”
(Dominic Miller / Netflix)

Malcolm and Marie who? Turns out Zendaya’s upcoming film directed by “Euphoria” creator Sam Levinson almost featured a certain teen spy named K.C.

Yes, that K.C.

In a GQ cover story published Monday, Zendaya revealed that Levinson originally pitched a scary movie inspired by the Emmy winner‘s hit Disney Channel series, “K.C. Undercover,” when brainstorming ideas for the secret quarantine project that later became Netflix’s “Malcolm & Marie.”


“He’s like, ‘What if we did something almost like a horror movie where you’ve lost it because you still think you’re on “K.C. Undercover”?’” Zendaya recalled. “‘You could be in the house like dah, dah, dah, and you’re still stuck being this Disney Channel actress, and people are like, ‘No. You’re not K.C. [anymore].’”

The “Euphoria” and “Spider-Man” actress, who produced and starred in the popular Disney program from 2015 until 2018, was not sold on the premise but humored Levinson anyway:

“You just have to let him go through his process,” she told writer Hunter Harris.

Eventually, the “K.C. Undercover” concept was scrapped in favor of an intimate relationship drama starring “Tenet” actor John David Washington and Zendaya as flawed couple Malcolm and Marie. In July, it was revealed that the highly anticipated project was penned by Levinson at Zendaya’s request and filmed at Carmel, Calif.’s glassy Caterpillar House early in the COVID-19 lockdown.

“[Marie] gave me an opportunity to use these words in a way,” Zendaya said of her actress character, who gets into an argument with Washington’s Malcolm after he fails to acknowledge Marie at the premiere of his new movie.

“I don’t yell. I’m not a very argumentative person, but it’s nice to just release s— and be able to ... just use her as this vessel to just get s— out that maybe I had pent up or hadn’t said.”

Last week, Netflix released the trailer for the COVID-era film, which has already generated awards buzz for Zendaya, Washington and Levinson. The preview sees its two rising stars falling in love and verbally sparring as their romance begins to unravel.

“Euphoria” showrunner Sam Levinson has completed production on “Malcolm & Marie,” a movie starring Zendaya and John David Washington, entirely in quarantine.

July 9, 2020


“You know what, Malcolm?” Marie says in the trailer. “I feel like once you know someone is there for you and once you know they love you, you never actually think of them again. It’s not until you’re about to lose someone that you finally pay attention.”

“You want control because you can’t imagine the reason I’m with you is because I love you,” Malcolm says.

“Malcolm and Marie” debuts Feb. 5 on Netflix.