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Challengers’ Zendaya discusses bond with Josh O’Connor and Mike Faist

"We had tennis training together, all three of us. We had rehearsals together, we worked out together"

By Alastair James

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

Zendaya, the star and producer of the new film, Challengers, has spoken of her bond with her co-stars.

In the film directed by Luca Guadagnino (Call Me By Your Name) Zendaya stars as Tashi Duncan, a young rising tennis star whose career is cut short by an injury. She then pivots to coach her husband and fellow tennis star Art Donaldson (Mike Faist). The film revolves around a tennis match between Art and his former best friend and Tashi’s ex-boyfriend Patrick Zweig (Josh O’Connor).

Speaking to journalists on the red carpet of the film’s London premiere on Wednesday (10 April) Zendaya spoke of working with her male costars.

@attitudemag @Challengers Movie star #Zendaya discusses the camaraderie she had with her co-stars Josh O’Connor and Mike Faist. “We had a lot of time to prepare, so we had tennis training together, all three of us, rehearsals together, we worked out together.” The film is in UK cinemas on 26 April. #ChallengersMovie #Zendaya ♬ original sound – Attitude Magazine

“First and foremost we had a lot of time to prepare. We had tennis training together, all three of us. We had rehearsals together, we worked out together. It created this safety and this camaraderie between each other where we could get to feel comfortable.”

Referencing the film’s intimate scenes, the Euphoria star went on to mention the use of intimacy coordinators. Zendaya added: “I’m very grateful that I came up in an industry where that job already existed and I didn’t have to request for it to exist. It’s everything you can to make sure people are comfortable and safe because that’s the only way to do your best work.

The film focuses on the central trio and the love triangle between them. Speaking previously of Challengers, O’Connor said, “The tennis is the sex.” He added: “Those moments are so sexy,” and “The sex they’re all desperate for is on the court.”

Challengers is in UK cinemas from 26 April.