Zendaya is serving up a smashing combination of tennis, sensual romance, and pure chaos in the first trailer for MGM’s sizzling-hot ‘Challengers‘ sports drama movie. MGM pleasantly surprised fans by recently dropping the initial preview trailer, offering a sneak peek at the Dune actress, Mike Faist and Josh O’Connor’s dynamic chemistry. Challengers comes from the acclaimed Italian director Luca Guadagnino, who’s directing the movie from a script written by first-time screenwriter Justin Kuritzkes.
In the upcoming sensual sports drama, Zendaya takes on the role of Tashi Duncan, a tennis prodigy-turned-coach who “makes no apologies for her game on and off the court.” She’s married to a Grand Slam champion Art (played by Faist) grappling with a string of defeats. Determined to restore his former glory, Tashi cooks up a plan that involves Art’s participation in the “Challenger” event. However, the situation takes an unexpected turn when Art “finds himself standing across the net from his former best friend and Tashi’s former boyfriend Patrick (Josh O’Connor).”
The new trailer is set to Rihanna’s song “S&M,” and kicks off with Tashi in her teenage years, ready to conquer the world of tennis and become one of the greatest stars. “Tashi Duncan. She’s gonna turn her whole family into millionaires. She’ll have a fashion line, a foundation,” exclaims Patrick. His dialogue is perfectly paired with shots of Zendaya’s Tashi exuding charm and confidence at a glamorous party, and also showcasing her innate athleticism as a tennis player on the court.
We see Art approaching Tashi at an event and complimenting her with genuine admiration, saying, “You were incredible today. I mean, it wasn’t even like tennis. It was an entirely different game.” Patrick then pitches a wild idea, inviting Tashi to hang out with them later. In a quick-witted response, Zendaya’s Tashi cheekily retorted, “Do you want me to come tuck you in?” The trailer swiftly transitions to a scene in a hotel room where Tashi, Art, and Patrick engage in a conversation. Tashi curiously asks them about their experiences pursuing the same girl, to which both of them respond, “Not as often as you’d think. We usually have different types.” Tashi quips back, “So, should I feel flattered then?”
Following the brief chit-chat, Tashi starts making out with both the guys and the apparent threesome sparks drama and tension between the characters. However, everything changes when Tashi sustains a severe leg injury during one of her matches, altering not only her career trajectory but also impacting Art and Patrick.
The trailer then skips to several years later, and we discover that Tashi has become Art’s tennis coach and is now married to him. The couple is gearing up for the high-stakes tennis tournament, a pivotal event that will force former best friends (Art and Patrick) to confront their shared history and compete against each other on the court. In one of the shots, Tashi reflects on the nature of tennis, saying, “You know what tennis is? It’s a relationship.”
According to the film’s official logline, Challengers follows “three players who knew each other when they were teenagers as they compete in a tennis tournament to be the world-famous grand slam winner and reignite old rivalries on and off the court.” While talking to Variety, Guadagnino spilled the beans that no CGI or special effects were used for any of the tennis scenes. Instead, Zendaya, O’Connor and Faist took an intense three-month training with Brad Gilbert, a professional tennis coach and former player. Gilbert also served as a consultant on the film, ensuring that every aspect of the tennis sequences remained true to the sport.
“She’s wonderful,” Guadagnino expressed. “I mean, wow. We edited the movie, and we almost actually don’t use any of her double. She’s so good.” Based on the trailer, Challengers seem to have all the ingredients for a thrilling and hilarious movie, packed with quirky humour, gripping drama, and tension.
MGM’s Challengers will open in theatres starting September 15. Check out the steamy trailer above.
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