“Tennis in this film is really just a metaphor for power,” says Zendaya

A movie that marks a radical departure from her previous roles and places the award-winning actress in a whole new artistic sphere, “Challengers” stars Zendaya as a former tennis prodigy.

It’s the first-time audiences will see the Emmy Award winning actor who launched her career as an actress on Disney Channel series “Shake It Up” playing a mother and a wife.

(L-R) Writer Justin Kuritzkes, producer Amy Pascal, Josh O’Connor, Zendaya, Mike Faist, director Luca Guadagnino, producer Rachel O’Connor and Mike Hopkins, SVP of Prime Video and Amazon MGM Studios,

Directed by Luca Guadagnino, “Challengers” follows a former pro-tennis hopeful called Tashi, whose career was cut short by a knee injury, leading her to become a highly successful coach. Mike Faist and Josh O’Connor play two best friends, who both fall in love with Tashi once she becomes their coach.


The film follows several years in their lives as their paths diverge and converge over the years.

“it’s a film that deals with life situations that are nuanced and characters who have pain inside of them. My character Tashi’s first love is tennis — that was the thing that gave her strength and power and made her who she is,” shares Zendaya. “I can identify with that, because I have found so much of my identity through my work. The moment when, because of an injury, Tashi is no longer able to do the one thing that she feels defines her, she has to find a way to redefine herself. She’s doing her best to control everything, and to be in control of her emotions, to get what she wants and needs out of life, but I’m not sure she knows what it leads to. I think there’s a lot of women that will see themselves in Tashi.”

Cynthia Erivo

One of the most prominent and influential names in the entertainment industry Zendaya won the Emmy for Best Lead Actress in a Drama Series for her performance in HBO and A24’s second season of “Euphoria.” Other credits include “Space Jam: A New Legacy” with Lebron James, “The Greatest Showman” opposite Hugh Jackman and Zac Efron and the animated film “Smallfoot,” “Spider-Man: No Way Home,” and she can also be seen as Chani in Denis Villenueve’s film “Dune” opposite Timothee Chalamet.

The R-rated drama set in the world of tennis was released recently in theaters.

By Samantha Ofole-Prince / Photos courtesy of Amazon MGM Studios

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