The film and TV industry has been for the most part shut down for almost four months now, and given California’s recent spikes in cases that’s likely to remain so for a while still. But some talent has thought outside the box. Rian Johnson was able to direct a Pokemon Go commercial remotely. And, as per Deadline, the creator of Euphoria secretly made a movie with Zendaya and John David Washington, all while the pandemic raged.
It’s called Malcolm & Marie, and it doesn’t sound all that escapist. In fact, while its plot has not been revealed, Deadline claims it’s not unlike Marriage Story, Noah Baumbach’s harrowing divorce saga starring Scarlett Johansson and Adam Driver. It was, in fact, Zendaya’s idea: The actress reportedly phoned her Euphoria creator, Sam Levinson, in mid-March, asking him to write a movie about the quarantine. Six days later he had it.
Most surprising of all: They didn’t film it at home, each actor staring into their webcam. The film was shot between June 17 and July 2 at the environmentally conscious, all-glass Caterpillar House in Carmel, CA, all while complying to WGA, DGA and SAG-AFTRA approvals and COVID-19 safety protocol. Cast and crew “were tested for COVID before working, wore protective gear, and stayed on a separate property to maintain the healthiest working environment possible.” What’s more:
Once cleared, production began with no more than 12 people on set at any given moment. Some of the precautions taken included temperature checks at the beginning and end of every day. Extra time was always allowed for the crew to sanitize the set and gear. No crew member could be in close contact with the actors without the proper personal protective equipment. Sets were pre-dressed well in advance to limit crews, and the director would check in on a video call in advance.
The full and extensive list of rules for shooting a movie during a pandemic can be read at Deadline. Meanwhile, what are the odds you’ll see Malcolm & Marie before you see another John David Washington movie, Tenet?