Challengers, a romantic sports drama directed by Luca Guadagnino, stars Zendaya, Mike Faist, and Josh O’Connor in the lead. The story follows Zendaya’s character, a former professional tennis player turned coach who helped her husband, Mike Faist, become a grand slam champion. She pushes him to participate in a Challengers event where his opponent turns out to be his former best friend, and her former lover.

Zendaya as Tashi Duncan in Challengers

The R-rated tennis drama was one of the most highly anticipated movies of 2024, with its trailer hinting at an intriguing and intense love triangle. Challengers was released on April 26, and the response to the R-rated romantic sports drama has been better than the makers expected.

Zendaya talks about playing the complex character Tashi in Challengers

Zendaya is no stranger to playing complicated and complex characters on screen. Her portrayal as a teenager recovering from drug addiction in HBO’s Euphoria is an example of this. Ahead of the release of Challengers, Zendaya spoke to EW about portraying Tashi Duncan. She said,

“From a personal perspective, this is my first time leading a film in this way, so I’ve felt that pressure, that fear, that burden, or whatever from the beginning of just wanting to make something that I’m proud of and enjoy it, and sometimes that can be very difficult.”

Zendaya hopes that the audience gets to see movies like Challengers in future

The actress mentioned that the characters in the movie are complex yet interesting, noting that they are hard to define. The actress stated that they were ‘undefinable’ in a beautiful way. Zendaya in her conversation stated that the characters and the story are elements that the audience has to experience themselves and enjoy.

In an interview with USA Today, the actress mentioned that movies like these [Challengers] should be made more often. However, she added that they’re kind of scary because the screenplay is original, which can be challenging to attract audiences for. Despite that, she is hopeful that the audience will get to engage with similar movies in the future.

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The Euphoria actress also expressed her appreciation for filmmaker Guadagnino, mentioning that he was open to the collaboration. Zendaya, who serves as the producer on the movie, added that the filmmaker was always open to working together, which is rare to find.

Challengers opens with an impressive box-office opening 

Despite the release being pushed twice, Challengers managed to not only attract the audience to the theatres, but also impress them with its intriguing plot. Variety reports that Challengers grossed up to $6.2 million on its opening day in North American theaters. With a Cinema Score tallying a B+, the movie is reportedly looking positive ahead of the weekend.

Challengers opens to an impressive box office collection

Deadline reported that the actress’ popularity has been one of the major forces in attracting audiences to theaters. With a budget of $55 million, the movie has to perform well worldwide to be dubbed a box office success, but for now, things look positive. 

Fans who got to see the movie have expressed their views on the R-rated sports romantic drama, with one user mentioning, It’s worth a watch; Zendaya is just so good.’ Another commented that the actors in the movie performed very well.

An X user gave the movie 10/10, explaining that the cast of the movie is superb and Zendaya is a true star with or without captivating dialogues. They mentioned that the background score is to die for and is very thoughtfully placed throughout the movie. Another user added, Tashi Duncan, the queen that you are.’

Also Read: “This is a lot of pressure”: Zendaya Recalls “Really Intense” Experience of Shooting Her First Disney Pilot at Just 14-Years-Old

Fans have appreciated the performances of the actors in the movie, adding that the filmmaker has once again outdone himself. The movie has received positive reviews from critics and the audience as of now, but it has to continue the run to be regarded as a success.

Challengers is available in cinemas.

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