There’s officially no couple I’d rather be cooped up in a house with than Zendaya and John David Washington. The pair play a sexy couple on the rocks in Malcolm & Marie, a new film from Euphoria creator Sam Levinson. Washington and Zendaya bth serve as producers on the project, which was filmed over two weeks in July under strict COVID-19 guidelines. It hits Netflix Feb. 5.
The first trailer for Malcolm & Marie offers a black-and-white glimpse of a couple going through growing pains. In the two-minute preview, the couple kisses, fights, flirts, cooks pasta, screams at each other, and smoke cigarettes in between Levinson’s dialogue. “You are by far the most excruciating, difficult, stubbornly obnoxious woman I’ve ever met in my entire life. I fucking love you,” Malcolm tells Marie in what feels like a synopsis of their turbulent relationship.
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A title card reads, “This is not a love story. This is the story of love” and it’s clear that the film will grapple with some philosophical questions. “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,” Marie posits. “It’s not until you’re about to lose someone that you finally pay attention.”
An official description of Malcolm & Marie, which was executive produced by Will Greenfield, Aaron L. Gilbert, Yariv Milchan, Michael Schaefer, and Scott Mescudi, reads:
Writer/Director Sam Levinson teams up with Zendaya and John David Washington for an achingly romantic drama in which a filmmaker (Washington) and his girlfriend (Zendaya) return home following a celebratory movie premiere as he awaits what’s sure to be imminent critical and financial success. The evening suddenly takes a turn as revelations about their relationships begin to surface, testing the strength of their love.
Working with cinematographer Marcell Rev, Levinson creates a film of rare originality; an ode to the great Hollywood romances as well as a heartfelt expression of faith in the medium’s future.
Zendaya told Timothée Chalamet in ELLE‘s December 2020 issue that she helped commission the movie after filming on Euphoria season 2 filming was postponed. “So we got this idea that we could do a movie in quarantine safely with a very small number of people,” she explained. “We used some crew members from Euphoria who obviously didn’t have a job because filming had stopped. I was fascinated with this idea of shooting a film with just two characters [John David Washington and Zendaya play the titular roles]. It was like a play.”
Zendaya also revealed that in addition to helping finance the film, she wore all of her own clothing and makeup. “It was an actor’s dream. But it was also a little nerve-racking,” she says. “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. Like, ‘Oh my gosh, am I really doing this?’ It was one of the first times I just went for something, and I’m so grateful and proud of it.”
Malcolm & Marie hits select theaters in January and Netflix on Feb. 5.
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