Zendaya, Josh O’Connor and Mike Faist to star in Luca Guadagnino’s romantic drama Challengers

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Zendaya, Josh O’Connor, and Mike Faist of West Side Story are all set to feature in MGM’s new romance drama Challengers, directed by Luca Guadagnino.

Amy Pascal, the producer of Spider-Man: No Way Home, is producing the picture alongside Zendaya and Guadagnino under her Pascal Pictures. Justin Kuritzkes is writing the script.

The film is set in the competitive world of pro tennis, where Tashi (Zendaya), a player-turned-coach, has helped her husband Art (Faist) become a Grand Slam champion. Tashi invites him into a “Challenger” event, the lowest level of professional competition, where he must compete against Patrick (O’Connor), Tashi’s former boyfriend and closest friend.

Zendaya has signed a deal for the picture, but O’Connor and Faist are still in talks. On the East Coast, production on Challengers is set to begin in the spring.

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Challengers joins Guadagnino’s interesting future slate, which includes Timothée Chalamet’s Bones and All and Rooney Mara’s Audrey Hepburn biography.

Zendaya, an Emmy Award winner, is presently starring in HBO’s immensely popular adolescent drama Euphoria in its second season. She recently appeared in Spider-Man: No Way Home, reprising her role as MJ.

O’Connor, who won an Emmy for his performance as young Prince Charles in The Crown, is next due to play with Paul Mescal in the romance The History of Sound.

Following his debut performance as Riff in West Side Story, Faist will next be seen in Austin and Meredith Bragg’s Pinball: The Man Who Saved the Game.

The news of Zendaya’s casting was originally reported in Matt Belloni’s Puck newsletter.

For the unversed, Michael David Faist is an actor, singer, and dancer from the United States. He was born on January 5, 1992. He is best known for his role as Riff, the Jets’ leader, in Steven Spielberg’s West Side Story, for which he received a nomination for Best Actor in a Supporting Role at the 75th British Academy Film Awards, and for originating the role of Connor Murphy in the Broadway musical Dear Evan Hansen, for which he received a Tony Award for Best Featured Actor in a Musical, a Grammy Award for Best Musical Theatre Album, and a Daytime Emmy Award In Disney’s Newsies, he also played Morris Delancey.


Zendaya made her debut as a backup dancer and kid model. She rose to prominence as Rocky Blue on the Disney Channel sitcom Shake It Up (2010–2013), and she competed in the sixteenth season of the dancing competition series Dancing with the Stars in 2013. In the sitcom K.C. Undercover (2015–2018), she produced and starred as the titular spy, K.C. Cooper.

Zendaya was the youngest recipient of the Primetime Emmy Award for Outstanding Lead Actress in a Drama Series for her depiction as a struggling, drug addict adolescent in the HBO drama series Euphoria (2019–present). Her cinematic roles include The Greatest Showman (2017), Spider-Man: Homecoming (2017) and its sequels, and the computer-animated musical comedy Smallfoot (2018),the romantic drama Malcolm & Marie (2021), the live-action/animation hybrid sports comedy Space Jam: A New Legacy (2021), and the science fiction epic Dune (2021).

Josh O’Connor is a British actor who was born on May 20, 1990. He is best known for playing young Prince Charles in the Netflix drama The Crown (2019–2020), for which he won the Golden Globe Award for Best Actor – Television Series Drama and the Primetime Emmy Award for Outstanding Lead Actor in a Drama Series in 2021, and was nominated for the British Academy Television Award for Best Supporting Actor in 2020 and the British Academy Television Award for Best Actor in 2021. He’s also recognized for his roles as Johnny Saxby in Francis Lee’s God’s Own Country and Lawrence Durrell in the ITV series The Durrells, for which he earned a British Independent Film Award for Best Actor.