The COVID-19 pandemic caused a lot of industries, including film and television, to shut down at once. For many directors, producers, actors and crew members, the shutdown has been devastating both financially and creatively. However, Emmy winner Zendaya managed to channel her creativity in the upcoming movie Malcolm & Marie. The actress opened recently about why she chose to work on a film during the quarantine.
In the summer of 2020, Zendaya made headlines for shooting Malcolm & Marie during the Hollywood shutdown. She collaborated with Euphoria creator Sam Levinson and actor John David Washington to film the romantic drama while following safety protocols. Zendaya wanted to flex her acting muscles after the film industry had shuttered. She explained to the podcast OTHERtone why she filmed the secret movie, saying:
It’s basically kind of birthed within quarantine conversations Sam [Levinson] and I had in wanting to create something safely…I really wanted to be creative and I hadn't worked in a long time, through that year anyway. The last thing I acted on was Euphoria, and I had a year of not really doing any acting. I really missed what I loved.
After Zendaya spoke on her need to act, she went on to tell the podcast how the secret movie starring her and John David Washington came to be. Quarantine played a key role in the film being put together. The actress continued:
I was like listen I’ll do whatever. He [Zendaya and Sam] had some weird ideas. He was, like, ‘we [Zendaya, Sam and DP Marcel] can literally shoot something in your house.’ We could shoot in my house and see if we come up with something. But it kind of turned into something a little bit more special than that… He called me one day with this beautiful idea of these two people in a house, a relationship piece… like a play.
Given Zendaya’s words in the podcast, she seems to be not only passionate about the project, but also about being able to express herself as an actor. The filming of Malcolm & Marie proved how much she wanted to act at a time where the entertainment industry was deciding its next move. Kudos to Zendaya for creating a film with John David Washington and Sam Levinson in a safe environment before the overall film and television industries knew what to do.
Zendaya even spoke on possibly writing and directing more in the future, which lines up with her recent comments on being inspired by other Black women in Hollywood. The actor has been remarkably busy from late 2020 into 2021, as a special episode of Euphoria was released in Dec. 2020, with another airing on Jan. 24. She is currently in Atlanta shooting the Spider-Man: Far from Home sequel. Zendaya will appear next in the reboot of the sci-fi classic Dune, which arrives in theaters and on HBO Max October 1. After the next Spider-Man movie, she is expected to film the thriller Finest Kind with Jake Gyllenhaal and Ansel Elgort as well as headline a biopic on Ronettes frontwoman Ronnie Spector.
Zendaya’s passion was able to push her into being inventive in a time where the odds were stacked against her. You can check out the actor in Spider-Man: Far from Home through Starz and Euphoria on HBO. Malcolm & Marie will arrive on Netflix February 15.