Zendaya and John David Washington learned valuable lessons when playing their title characters in Malcolm & Marie.
In the new Netflix film, the actors endlessly clash over the state of their relationship. It's a love story marred by their previous heartache, jealousy and old wounds.
The experience reminded Washington of the importance of communication and saying what you feel before it becomes all-consuming.
"To hold something, to harbour these things and wait until the moment forces you to bring it out, I wouldn't work that way. But I do... not much though," Washington tells 9Honey Celebrity. "No, I don't think I would have a relationship like this at all."
Meanwhile, Zendaya appreciated how their characters were given room to say what was on their mind without interruption.
"They let each other finish. They allow each other their full space to say everything they need to say," she says. "They never really talk over each other or cut each other off, which is very hard to listen to. Especially when they might be saying things that are hurtful, or they're true, whatever that may be."
In Malcolm & Marie, which is filmed in black-and-white film stock, Zendaya and Washington return from Malcolm's premiere at 1am to their palatial Los Angeles home. Over the course of the night, the floodgates open and the strength of their love is put to the ultimate test.
Zendaya believes there's something "quite special" about this particular project. Not only was it filmed within 14 days, but the idea was birthed after production for her hit show Euphoria was shut down.
Euphoria creator Sam Levinson embarked on filming one of the first movies that followed COVID-19 protocols at a single location in California.
"It kind of burst from these conversations with Sam in quarantine about wanting to just make something, maybe possibly in my house. And so the fact that Sam took that concept and then created this is pretty crazy," Zendaya says. "Also, I think the fact that it was written for us is so special. It feels hugely like it was meant to be, and it came at the right time, and it's really an actor's dream for me to be able to just have one other person to work within one space and just try to figure it out."
Malcolm & Marie also marks Zendaya's first time working as a producer. The film is already being eyed for award seasons, and if Zendaya is nominated as a producer, she will become the second-ever Black woman to get a nod in that category.
"We were all so deeply involved in the process from literally its inception, to asking it to be made, to getting it sold. So that was incredibly special," she says of making the movie. "I learned so much in that process as well. And then having to do it safely and make sure that everybody was taken care of and all the conversations that happened there to make sure that we did this the right way, because that was our number one priority over anything else."
The Emmy winner admits she still goes "back and forth" on whether she believes Malcolm and Marie should be together, despite their glaring problems.
"I don't see either of them as bad guys. I don't see either one as good guys either. I think they're just two people figuring it out," Zendaya says. "And I, like anyone else, am a little bit conflicted as to whether I believe they should be together or not. Because they... I don't know, it's a tough thing and I go back and forth every day. So I think audiences might feel similar."
Malcolm & Marie is available to watch on Netflix from February 5.
Source: Entertainment News, TV and Celebrity Gossip - 9Celebrity https://celebrity.nine.com.au/latest/malcolm-and-marie-john-david-washington-zendaya/fa600953-bc9a-4597-b3a8-d4ff5314bb40