Challengers will introduce Zendaya's Tashi, a Tennis player-turned-coach who will mentor her champion husband against her ex-boyfriend while seemingly juggling romantic entanglements with both.
The role of Tashi will be a different one for Zendaya as she portrays a wife and mother with sensual scenes to go along with it in "a film about sex."
Zendaya Talks Challengers Sex Scenes
Speaking in the latest issue of Total Film magazine, Zendaya touched on her upcoming movie Challengers, particularly diving into the experience of filming sex scenes, as are featured more than once in the trailer.
The trailer showed off multiple sex scenes, including one she will share with two partners, Mike Faist's Art and Josh O'Connor's Patrick - the former of which goes on to become her husband who she shares a separate intimate moment with.
The actress explained how the trio built a close bond behind-the-scenes, noting how they were "patient" and "really helpful" with each other to become comfortable and say, "All right, let’s play:"
"Just being committed to the work, and holding space for each other, and being patient with each other, and just being really helpful, and just being in those rooms, and just talking shit through - I think it ultimately led to being in a space where we could just be like, 'All right, let’s play.'"
Zendaya added how she felt as if she was "filling the role of a leader," but at the same time, "also being led in many ways:"
"I felt like I was, you know, filling the role of a leader, but also being led in many ways by their performances, and how they show up to work every day."
Art actor Mike Faist compared the process to "a bunch of alchemists" with "no idea how to make the potion work:"
"At the end of the day, you have a bunch of alchemists who are extremely passionate, who have no idea how to make the potion work. But for some reason, they’re just going to try…"
Zendaya has experience with sex scenes, including intimate lesbian moments with Hunter Schaefer's Jules Vaughn in Euphoria and a semi-nude moment in 2021's black-and-white romance Malcolm Marie.
Why Challengers Is Game-Changing for Zendaya
Zendaya previously stated that despite Challengers being "a film about sex," the intimate scenes are "not really seen." This may suggest the sex scenes the actress has teased filming may leave a lot to the imagination, with little nudity or actual sex likely to be shown in the R-rated sports comedy-drama.
A previous report claimed Zendaya has a no-nudity clause in some of her movie and show contracts, which may explain why the sexual moments will be "not really seen" in Challengers. But nonetheless, even shooting implied or only semi-nude sex scenes is bound to be an intense experience among co-stars.
In many ways, Challengers will make a major step in Zendaya's career as she moves into her most adult leading role yet. Of course, her HBO series, Euphoria, is certainly loaded with adult themes and story arcs, but at its core, it is still a show about high school teenagers, albeit rather troubled ones.
The actress' career is bound to continue only further on the up-and-up in the coming years, with Dune: Part Two, Challengers, Euphoria Season 3, and Spider-Man 4 all on the horizon, leaving her with a busy few years ahead.
Challengers hits theaters on April 26, 2024.