Zendaya Teases Sexual Tension in Tennis Movie ‘Challengers’: ‘There’s So Much in Just Glances’

A score of zero is known as “love” but who knew the game of tennis could be so passionate?

Following the June trailer release for 2024 movie Challengers, the film’s star Zendaya has opened up about the sexual tone of the sports comedy-drama, with the action on set directed by filmmaker Luca Guadagnino.

“What Luca’s really good at is finding sensuality and desire,” Zendaya, 26, told Empire in an interview published on Aug. 1. “There’s so much in just glances. The tension builds. Not having the release is a good thing sometimes.”

MGM’s R-rated Challengers tells the tale of Tashi, played by Zendaya, a former tennis ace turned coach who pushes her husband Art, a formerly mediocre athlete played by Mike Faist, to become a Grand Slam champion.

Following Art’s losing streak, Tashi spurs him on to compete for courtside supremacy in a match against his former best friend — and Tashi’s former boyfriend — Patrick, played by Josh O’Connor.

Zendaya Does ‘Almost’ All of Her Own Tennis-Playing in ”Challengers’ ‘ Movie

“The tennis is the sex,” 33-year-old British actor O’Connor told Empire. “Those moments are so sexy. The film is dealing with the tension before and after. The sex they’re all desperate for is on the court.” 

Those steamy moments were fully evident in the June trailer release, which is set to Rihanna’s song “S&M.” In one scene, the three competitors enjoy a raunchy throuple entanglement on a hotel bed.


“He had no knowledge of tennis going into this,” Faist, 31, said to Empire of Guadagnino’s approach to filmmaking. “And I think he had only a vague interest in certain tennis specificities. He was more interested in the bodies and sweat.”

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Challengers will be released April 26, 2024, shifting from its original Sept. 15, 2023 release due to the ongoing SAG-AFTRA and WGA strikes causing a Hollywood standstill.

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Categories: Trends
Source: HIS Education

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