Netflix’s newest original film, Malcolm & Marie, stars Zendaya and John David Washington in a black-and-white, sexy drama about the pitfalls and perseverance of love. The trailer for the film dropped just a short time ago on Friday (January 8) and people are already weighing in on how good it looks. They’re also discussing the 12-year age gap between the two co-stars and how that plays into the chemistry and believability of the stars as an on-screen couple. But let’s discuss the movie’s premise first.
“As a filmmaker and his girlfriend return home from his movie premiere,” Netflix writes, “smoldering tensions and painful revelations push them toward a romantic reckoning.” The streaming site also lists the film as an independent drama that is both intimate and emotional.
Even though we only have the trailer to go off of until the film is released on the site on February 5, the Internet is already buzzing about the movie’s sole actors.
Zendaya, who is 24 in real life, plays Marie, the girlfriend of Malcolm, played by John David Washington, who is 36 years old in real life. Even though she looks more adult than she ever has on-screen, and has reportedly given a performance some are already calling “Oscar-worthy,” many just can’t wrap their heads around the age difference between the two in the film, or see Zendaya, former Disney star, as a character with the intense relationship issues and adulthood woes depicted in the film. Based on only a trailer, some can’t see them just yet as an intensely passionate couple.
The film, “which was quietly shooting all along during the pandemic” according to a Deadline report from July, is directed by Sam Levinson, who is also the creator of Euphoria. That’s the dark HBO drama where Zendaya plays Rue, a teenager struggling with drug addiction who deals with the complicated ups and down concerning sexuality, depression, young love, and the tumult of high school years. In the Deadline exclusive, details on the film shared that Zendaya was actually the one who called Levinson back in March to see if the filmmaker could write a film for her to star in. Within six days, the project had been written, and “Levinson, his production partner and wife Ashley Levinson, longtime producer Kevin Turen, Washington and Zendaya took it upon themselves to bankroll Malcolm & Marie during pre-production and production.”
Even though we’re used to seeing her play younger roles, maybe being in this film is Zendaya’s way us letting us know that now she’s unapologetically grown, and sexy too. No more family-friendly fluff for her. For what it’s worth, the trailer for Malcolm & Marie looks really good, and perhaps Zendaya will surprise everyone, quieting skeptics. I’ll certainly be watching. How about you?