Inside the Secret Filming of ‘Malcolm & Marie’


Martin Lopez

(Photo by Martin Lopez | Courtesy Pexels)

By Oakley Burt, Arts Editor


As the coronavirus outbreak was declared a pandemic in early March, Hollywood seemingly shut down overnight. Movie theatres closed their doors, films set to release in the coming months were delayed and production on all upcoming projects slated for the year were forced to cease. Now, almost four months later, the world is slowly and safely navigating its way back to a sense of normalcy. Movie theatres in many cities around the globe have reopened with safety guidelines in place, and many halted productions are gearing up to resume — under increased restrictions and safety guidelines as well. But while in quarantine, one film’s production was completed from start to finish.

“Euphoria” creator Sam Levinson completed filming a secret project shot entirely during quarantine on July 2. The secret project titled “Malcolm & Marie” came to fruition after season two of Levinson’s hit HBO series was shut down due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Shortly after, “Euphoria” star Zendaya called Levinson and asked if he could write and direct a film during quarantine, Deadline reported. Six days later the script for “Malcolm & Marie” was finished, and Levinson began thinking of whom to cast opposite of Zendaya — ultimately casting “Tenet” and “Blackkklansman” star John David Washington. To fund the film, Levinson, his production partner and wife Ashley Levinson, producer Kevin Turen, Zendaya and Washington financed it themselves.

Filming for “Malcolm & Marie” took place between June 17 and July 2 at the Feldman Architecture’s Caterpillar House in Carmel, CA — an environmentally conscious glass house that implemented sustainable elements in the build. The Caterpillar House’s location in Monterey County, along California’s Central Coast, made it the ideal shooting location — as the house sits on 33 acres of land that would support social distancing protocols and requirements.

To meet the requirements to film, Ashley Levinson and Turen met with several medical professionals, lawyers and Hollywood guilds in order to begin production. After these consultations, a plan was put in place to keep the cast and crew safe during filming. The entire cast and crew were quarantined for two weeks in Monterey County before filming began and tested for COVID multiple times. Each person had a separate dwelling on the property, wore masks and socially distanced by rehearsing six feet apart in the parking lot. Once everyone was cleared, production was able to begin with a maximum of 12 people on set at any given time. Those on set had their temperatures taken before and after filming for the day, crew would thoroughly sanitize the set and equipment to be used, and actors were held in a separate holding area away from the crew to minimize unnecessary contact. The full list of precautions and safety guidelines can be found here.

The official synopsis for “Malcolm & Marie” has been largely kept under wraps, but it is described as similar to Netflix’s “Marriage Story,” while experimenting with social themes the world is currently experiencing. No official release date has been given at this time. In the meantime, season one of “Euphoria” is available to stream on HBO and Washington’s “Tenet” is set for theatrical release on Aug. 12.


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