Netflix continues to be on a roll at the Toronto International Film Festival. After making the only big buys at the first so far with Halle Berry’s Bruised and Pieces of a Woman starring Vanessa Kirby and Shia LaBeouf, they have now picked up Euphoria creator Sam Levinson’s Malcolm & Marie. Several trade publications reported the news on Sunday, noting that the deal is around $30 million. Zendaya and John David Washington star in the film.
The film is not screening at the festival but a 20-minute promo real was shown to buyers by CAA and Endeavor. Others in the bidding war included HBO, Amazon, Searchlight, MGM, Apple, A24 and Focus Features.
We also have a description of the film (shot in quarantine 35mm in black and white) now. Per Deadline: Washington plays a filmmaker who returns home with his girlfriend (Zendaya) following a celebratory movie premiere as he awaits what’s sure to be [an] 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.
It was the first feature film to complete production during the pandemic. Production took place from June 17-July 2 at the Caterpillar House, described as “an environmentally conscious glass architectural marvel in Carmel, CA.” The set was compliant with WGA, DGA and SAG-AFTRA approvals and COVID-19 safety protocols and strict safety guidelines.
Once Levinson was told that Euphoria season 2 had to shut down, Zendaya called him one night during quarantine and asked if he could write and direct a film during the quarantine. He came up with the concept in six days and thought of Washington as the perfect actor to “spar” with Zendaya.
It was funded by Levinson’s production partner and wife, Ashley Levinson, Kevin Turen, Washington and Zendaya. Yariv Milchan and Michael Schafer also came on board to support financing and wanted to donate their proceeds charity. Kid Cudi is also an investor. All three executive producers on the project with Aaron L. Gilbert, Will Greenfield, Washington, Zendaya. Katia Washington, Harrison Kreiss, Stuart Manashil and Kenneth Yu co-executive produce.