How ‘Malcolm & Marie’ was secretly filmed during COVID

(Washington, Zendaya, Levinson)

Who knew what  Sam Levinson was up to during quarantine, which incidentally is still a good idea with COVID-19 spiking in California. The creator of HBO’s Euphoria shot a secret film with actors Zendaya and John David WashingtonDeadline reports. The film is titled Malcolm & Marie and was shot between June 17 and July 2 at the Caterpillar House in Carmel, California.

According to Deadline, while shot in secret, guilds such as the WGA, DGA, and SAG-AFTRA reportedly all approved the Malcolm & Marie production and the cast and crew filmed under strict Covid-19 safety protocols.

Malcolm & Marie was contained in one location at the Caterpillar House, described as “an environmentally-conscious glass architectural marvel” and “the first LEED Platinum Custom Home on California’s Central Coast.” The location “allowed the production to use very little air conditioning or heat with the home’s glass doors providing fresh air.”

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Zendaya shared a steamy scene between her and the BlackKklansman and Tenet star.

So how did they pull filming Malcolm & Marie off? Here are the protocols they followed:

During Quarantine

• No more than one person in a room at any given time unless the additional person has previously been quarantined with the cast or crew member.

• There will be food prepared in the quarantine housing. Food will be delivered to your rooms. No outside food delivery will be permitted in the housing.

• There will be schedules given to cast and crew as to when common areas can be utilized.

• No physical contact at any time.

• Walking and riding bicycles is permitted at the ranch so long as no one comes in contact with another person or enters any business establishments.

• There will be a pantry in each room for each person to have individual snacks and drinks.

• Disposable plastic cups and utensils only.

• There will be designated exterior areas for each crew member to be outdoors and maintain safe social distance.

• Each cast and crew member will have their own bathrooms in their own hotel rooms.

• Shared laundry is ok as long as handles and knobs are wiped before and after use.

During the Shoot

• Do not touch your mask.

• Eliminate the use of paper document distribution.

• Avoid handshakes and other greetings that involve touching.

• Keep your nails short if at all possible.

• Use the provided tissues to open door handles at the shooting location.

• Shared bathrooms are ok, but please wipe the seat, doorknobs, and sink handles before and after each use.

• All cast and crew food will be prepared by quarantined chefs at the quarantine housing and will be delivered to the shooting location by a quarantined crew member.


• Instruct all crew on the proper way to put on, take off, and dispose of PPE (personal protective equipment).

• Place signage around set reminding people to maintain distancing, wash their hands frequently, sneeze into tissues or their elbows, wear face coverings etc.

• Include a hygiene and safety reminder in the morning safety meetings (over the walkie to avoid gathering the whole crew).

• If you feel sick, do not report to set.

• No set visits.


• Temperature checks to take place at the beginning and end of every day.

• Test the crew before quarantine begins and once it ends.

Personal Protection Equipment

• Masks, gloves, shoe covers, sanitizing wipes, tissues and face shields to be made available to crew and cast.

Set Hygiene

• Identify a cleaning vendor locally to work with production.

• Sanitize frequently touched surfaces throughout the day.

• Do not share phones, walkies, or keys. Frequently sanitize these items.

• Place multiple no-touch hand sanitizing dispensers around the set.

• Frequent hand washing or sanitizing is required by all cast and crew.

Physical Distancing

• Everyone should maintain 6 feet apart at all times unless necessary.

• Avoid touching your face throughout the day.

• Limit specific areas of the set to essential crew.

• Designate areas for crew when not needed on set to maximize distancing efforts.

• Utilize walkie or cell phones for communication to avoid close contact with other departments.

Crew Levels

• No crew should be in close contact with actors without the proper PPE.

• Allow only one department on set at a time- maximum of 12 people total.

• Maintain physical distancing while on set as much as possible.

Production Offices

• Production office and accounting to work remotely.

• Production meetings to be held by Zoom or other video/telephone conference.

• Anyone doing drop offs and pick-ups from set should not have contact with on-set crew.

• Utilize docu-sign when possible for necessary signatures.


• We’ll need no-touch covered trash bins around set.

• Designated trash bins for disposing of PPE.

• Director/DP should only scout a location wearing PPE, and without the home owner there.

• Designate a space for contactless pick-ups/drop offs.

• Designate spaces for each department to help keep groups small on set.


• House crew together after quarantine period to minimize outside exposure.

• House crew a short distance from primary shooting location to minimize the need for public transport. No ubers, use private cars.

• Do not leave the accommodation premises during the quarantine and shoot.


• Cast and crew will be shuttled each day in Large SUV’s from quarantine location.

• Limit the number of crew and cast in each car, depending on the car size and keeping to one department at a time.

• Designate a cast car with the same driver to minimize cast exposure

• Disinfect door handles, sink taps and high touch surfaces often.


• Allow for extra time throughout the day for sanitizing.

• Consider a shorter shooting day to reduce crew exposure and give extra time for cleaning.

• Consider planning for continuous shoot days to achieve shorter schedules.

• Contingency plans to shift the schedule in the event a cast or crew member becomes sick.

• Extensive shot listing and communication of said lists should take place prior to shoot to best organize each days’ needs.

Catering and Craft Services

• Use disposable plates, food containers, cups and cutlery.

• Individually wrap meals- no cafeteria style.

• Limit the number of people picking up food and eating in once place.

• Designate areas for crew to keep the groups small and have adequate spacing.

• Only those trained in food safety to be in food prep areas.

• Chef who is safety trained to deliver breakfast and lunch to crew members.

• Boxed water, or automated water dispensers on set.

• Coffee to be served on set by one designated individual in throw away cups.

• Limit the use of communal coolers, instead have per- department coolers.

• Frequent disinfection of surfaces, sinks, and other cooking tools


• Post signage to remind everyone to wash their hands for 20 seconds.

• Consider sliding doors, or propping the entry door to avoid touching doorknobs where possible and appropriate.


• Encourage crew members to disinfect gear whenever they have downtime.

• Coordinate with equipment vendors on best sterilization methods that won’t damage equipment.

• Coordinate contactless pickup/drop off of equipment from vendors.

• Sterilize dead walkie batteries before returning them to department specific charging stations.

• Utilize hand sanitizer often when using shared equipment.


• Cast members of Malcolm & Marie will be handling their own costumes.


• Designated holding areas for cast while waiting to be on set. Keep distancing between cast members and crew


• Sanitize all props before giving them to actors.

• Wear masks while handling props.

• Show and tell for the director to take place via video call or with photos.

• Designate a place to leave props for actors on set to minimize person-to-person contact.

• No other department should handle any props.

Set Dressing

• Pre-dress sets as far in advance as possible to limit crew to Malcolm & Marie.

• Show and tell for the director to take place via video call or with photos.


• Use remote focus whenever possible.

• Maintain distance from actors whenever possible.

• Limit the passing of equipment (lenses etc) between members of the camera and grip teams.

• Sanitize any headsets needed for communication. Replace or sanitize the mic covers daily.


• Cast will mic themselves.

• Mics should be sanitized at night and in the morning before shooting begins.

• If contact with an actor is unavoidable, utilize appropriate PPE.

Grip and Electric

• Pre-light and pre-rig sets to limit the number of crew working at once • Sanitize cables and stands at wrap and throughout the day.

• Wash hands after adjusting lights, flags and cables throughout the day.

• Where possible limit the number of crew touching equipment.

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A plot synopsis for Malcolm & Marie has not been released, although Deadline reports the film has “some echoes of Netflix’s Marriage Story, while resonating [with] a number of social themes which the world is experiencing right now.”

Can’t wait to see this Malcolm & Marie.

SOURCE: Deadline