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Zendaya made sure the crew on her new film 'Malcolm & Marie' were given shares

The 24-year-old actor and producer said, “It just felt like the right thing to do."
/ Source: TODAY

Zendaya made sure everyone involved in the making of her upcoming film "Malcolm & Marie" had the opportunity to own shares that would provide a bonus payday when the film was sold.

The new drama, which is earning major Academy Award buzz, was made with a skeleton crew during quarantine. Many of the people who worked on the set were from Zendaya's hit-HBO show, "Euphoria."

Zendaya.Getty Images

"It was such a close knit, familial kind of thing because these are my crew members from 'Euphoria,'" the 24-year-old actor said during a Hollywood Foreign Press Association Zoom panel in honor of the Sundance Film Festival, which runs from Jan. 28 to Feb. 3.

In addition to doing her own hair and make-up, and bringing clothes from her own closet, Zendaya and her co-star, John David Washington, have producer credits and also had a say in the financial structure of the black-and-white film.

"We got to create this financial structure where all of our crew members also got points on it, so when it sold, they made money as well, so hopefully that will be a system that can continue," she said. "I think it's important that we take care of our people."

John David Washington and Zendaya in "Malcom & Marie."DOMINIC MILLER / NETFLIX

What are film points?

Points are like shares of stock in a movie, which allow people who own them (usually the main stars) to be rewarded with an extra payday if the film makes money. Typically one point equals 1%. "Malcolm & Marie" sold to Netflix for $30 million, according to Variety, which means everyone on the cast and crew who had points was likely handsomely rewarded for their work. So even if a crew member had just one point, that could equal $300,000 in profit for them from the sale to Netflix.

“It just felt like the right thing to do,” Zendaya told Variety. “These are the people that are laying all the tracks and were with us through the whole thing — and literally putting their blood, sweat and tears into it.”

Zendaya, who at 24 years old became the youngest Emmy winner for lead actress in a drama, was joined on the Sundance panel with Andra Day, Robin Wright, Sia and Halle Berry. In 2002, Berry became the first and is still the only Black woman to win the best actress Academy Award for her performance in "Monster's Ball."

The actor, 54, had high praise for Zendaya on Saturday and hailed the impact she'll continue to make on Hollywood.

"At 24 that she can have an idea and go get it done and get enough support behind her to get that done and to give her the power and keep the creativity, I think that says so much for where we have gotten and that is what makes me want to keep fighting, because of Zendaya, at 24, a Black woman can do that," Berry said. "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."