19 April 2024

New Photo From the Set of Zendaya’s Challengers Drops Online

3 min read

Is all fair in love and tennis? Zendaya’s romantic sports flick Challengers was originally scheduled to hit theaters on September 15, but then the Screen Actors Guild – American Federation of Television and Radio Artists (SAG-AFTRA) strike began. And as a result, the love-triangle between Tashi (Zendaya), Art (Mike Faist) and Patrick (Josh O’Conner) won’t heat up cinemas until April 26, 2024. However, fans can catch a glimpse of two friends turned rivals in a new photo from the film.

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Check out the image below, in which Patrick stares down an otherwise disinterested Art (courtesy of Empire):

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<!–[if IE 9]> <![endif]–>Challengers Mike Faist and Josh O'Conner

In an interview with the cast of Challengers, it seems that director Luca Guadagnino (Call Me By Your Name, Suspiria) was more interested in the sexiness of the performances as opposed to the logistics of tennis — according to co-star Mike Faist.

Faist told Empire:

“He [Guadagnino] had no knowledge of tennis going into this [film]. And I think he had only a vague interest in certain tennis specificities. He was more interested in the bodies and sweat.”

The photo features Patrick and Art resting at the conclusion of a match that they’ve played against each other, or in between sets. It’s most likely they’re snacking during a competition, rather than after, judging by what they’re eating. O’Conner’s character sneers as he eats a banana, and Art is holding a yellow package of what might be gummies, or even dried fruit. Professional tennis players often snack in between sets to offset fatigue and enhance performance, and they also turn to sports drinks to stay hydrated while competing.

Challengers Photo Features Patrick and Art

<!–[if IE 9]> <![endif]–>Zendaya in Luca Gudagnino's Challengers

During Luca Guadagnino’s upcoming movie Challengers, friends Patrick (O’Conner) and Art (Faist) not only compete on the tennis court, but they’re each trying to win the affections of Tashi (Zendaya) throughout the story. Judging from the trailer, after the three characters meet, they appear to engage in a tryst together when Tashi joins Patrick and Art in a hotel room. If the threesome does in fact unfold, it leads to severe consequences.

Zendaya said during the same interview with Empire:

“What Luca’s really good at is finding sensuality and desire. There’s so much in just glances. The tension builds. Not having the release is a good thing sometimes.”

In a voiceover during the footage, Patrick refers to Tashi as his girlfriend. However, it’s also revealed that years later Art and Tashi are married. In addition, it appears that the tennis portions of the film may serve as more of a window dressing, while the real game is being played in the day-to-day lives of the three protagonists. And when Patrick and Art meet on the court, they’re serving up a lot more than tennis balls.

O’Conner also told Empire:

“The tennis is the sex. 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.”

Unfortunately, thanks to the SAG-AFTRA strike, Guadagnino’s steamy romance has been delayed a full seven months. But fans can whet their appetites with even more behind-the-scenes looks at Challengers in the “Napoleon” issue of Empire magazine. And check out the trailer for Challengers below: