Exclusive: Zendaya on How Her 'Challengers' Character Is 'Walking That Line' in Luca Guadagnino’s Tennis Drama

Zendaya is joined in the 'Call Me By Your Name' filmmaker's latest by Josh O’Connor and Mike Faist.

Video via Metro Goldwyn Mayer Pictures

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Video via Metro Goldwyn Mayer Pictures

Zendaya can’t wait for audiences to experience the “roller coaster” of Challengers, her new film with We Are Who We Are and Call Me By Your Name director Luca Guadagnino.

Three actors sitting on a bed, dressed in casual attire, appearing in a friendly, intimate scene from a film

As previously reported, the tennis-focused drama, written by Justin Kuritzkes, also stars Josh O’Connor and Mike Faist. Zendaya plays Tashi Duncan, a tennis coach and former tennis prodigy in her own right. When her husband (Faist)’s losing streak leads to him facing off against his former best friend and her ex-boyfriend (O’Connor), a path toward career-reviving victory becomes exponentially more complicated.

Two individuals engaged in an intense conversation at night, likely from a film scene

As Zendaya explained in an exclusive featurette, available in full below, playing Tashi allowed her the freedom to explore a fascinatingly layered character within a story that took her on quite the ride.

Exclusive: A new look at Zendaya in Luca Guadagnino’s ‘CHALLENGERS’ 🎾 @challengersmov

In theaters on April 26. pic.twitter.com/rOkBFD1qWz

— Complex Pop Culture (@ComplexPop) April 1, 2024
Twitter: @ComplexPop

“Tashi is a go-getter,” Zendaya said. “She’s going to make something happen if she wants it to happen. Her life was always going to be tennis and now she has to find a way to redefine herself. She’s always walking that line between wife and businesswoman.”

Man in a cap and jacket leans towards a camera on set, intense focus on his face

Guadagnino, meanwhile, praised the Euphoria star as both a “very vibrant performer” when in front of the camera and a “wonderful producer to collaborate with” behind the scenes.

Challengers is in theaters starting April 26.

Movie poster for "Challengers" featuring Zendaya with a reflection of a tennis match in her sunglasses

2024 has been a massive year for Zendaya thus far. In March, after several delays, Dune: Part Two hit theaters and was met with immediate critical acclaim, not to mention some truly impressive box office numbers. The film is an action spectacle in the deepest sense, with its undeniable success hopefully ensuring that a third Dune film from Denis Villeneuve will indeed be brought to the finish line.

As for Euphoria, fans of the HBO series were recently met with some disappointing news regarding its long-teased third season. While HBO says new episodes will still be happening, actors are being allowed to "pursue other opportunities" following word that production was being pushed back.

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