Last weekend, The Hollywood Foreign Press Association (HFPA) hosted a virtual panel through the Sundance Film Festival titled “Women Breaking Barriers: An Industry Shift.” The panel focused on female voices in the industry and comprised of Halle Berry (“Bruised”), Andra Day (“The United States vs. Billie Holiday”), Sia (“Music”), Robyn Wright (“Land”), and Zendaya (“Malcolm & Marie”).
Zendaya, who is currently working on the next Spider-Man film, video-called in from her trailer to talk about producing for the first time on Malcolm & Marie, “It was my first time putting my own money into something,” she said. “I’m doing my hair and makeup, and everybody’s doing five different jobs because it was a skeleton crew. I was bringing my own clothes and using them as set dressing.” This movie was filmed during the summer of 2020 and at the height of the Covid-19 pandemic.
The chemistry on set was tremendous and familiar for the cast and crew. Zendaya says that she and Sam Levinson, the director and writer of Malcolm & Marie, are “very close” since they’ve worked together on the HBO series Euphoria. “He would call me every day that he would write pages, and we’d talk about it for hours.” She also made sure that the crew made money when Malcolm & Marie sold to Netflix, saying, “I think it’s important we take care of our people.”
Berry was very impressed by Zendaya’s initiative; she says, “At 24 that she can have an idea and go get it done and get enough support behind her to get that done… I think that says so much for where we’ve gotten – and that’s what makes me want to keep fighting, because of Zendaya at 24, a Black woman can do that. She is proof positive that things are changing, and I couldn’t be prouder, and I know you probably can’t be prouder of yourself, which is most important.”
Malcolm & Marie starring Zendaya and John David Washington will air on February 5th on Netflix.
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Photo Credit: People Magazine