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Josh O’Connor says the Challengers characters are ‘all fluid’

"I think they all kind of love each other and they're figuring that out and trying to understand where that plays out and how it plays out"

By Alastair James

Challengers Zendaya
Mike Faist, Zendaya, and Josh O'Connor in Challengers (Image: MGM Studios)

Challengers star Josh O’Connor has given his verdict as to whether his character in the upcoming film is queer.

O’Connor stars opposite Zendaya and Mike Faist in the film about two former best friends turned tennis rivals. The film’s trailers have shown off a fiery love triangle, that does play out – check our review here.

Speaking to Variety on the red carpet at the film’s LA premiere recently, O’Connor, known for other queer roles such as God’s Own Country, was asked whether his and Mike Faist’s characters – Patrick and Art – are queer.

“They’re all tied to each other” – Josh O’Connor

“Yeah, I think… they’re all fluid,” he said. “I think they all kind of love each other and they’re figuring that out and trying to understand where that plays out and how it plays out. So, I don’t know if there’s a clear-cut answer to that but I think that they’re all completely tied, they’re all in, they’re all tied to each other.”

In the past, O’Connor has described the tennis scenes in Challengers as the sex scenes. This echoes the film’s trailer where Tashi can be heard saying tennis is “a relationship.”

Speaking to Attitude at the London premiere, Challengers‘ writer, Justin Kuritzkes, discussed the love triangle.

“In a love triangle all the corners should touch,” was Guadagnino’s view Kuritzkes said. “That’s a really beautiful way to talk about the complexity of a love triangle in cinema. And it was really important to [Guadagnino] and me that it be plausible there was love between all of them. Whatever kind of love that looks like. That’s up to the audience and the actors. It was important that the jealousy not just be [in] one direction. They could all plausibly be jealous of each other in different ways.”

Kuritzkes also told Attitude: “Tennis is really homoerotic, as are sports in general. But there’s something very homoerotic about being alone on one side of the net and another person on the other side of the net and hitting a ball very fast.”

Challengers is in UK cinemas on 26 April.