‘Challengers’ Helmer More Interested in ‘Bodies and Sweat’ Than Tennis When Diving Into Sports Film

‘Challengers’ Helmer More Interested in ‘Bodies and Sweat’ Than Tennis When Diving Into Sports Film

August 1, 2023

According to cast member Mike Faist, filmmaker Luca Guadagnino only had ‘a vague interest’ in tennis when he was tapped to sit behind the lens for new movie starring Zendaya.

AceShowbizLuca Guadagnino didn’t know anything about tennis when he signed on to make “Challengers“. The 51-year-old filmmaker directs the upcoming sports drama that follows a tennis champion who signs up to compete in a challenger event against the former lover of his wife and coach but according to actor Mike Faist, he only had a “vague interest” in the game to begin with.

“He had no knowledge of tennis going into this. And I think he had only a vague interest in certain tennis specificities. He was more interested in the bodies and sweat,” he told Empire Magazine prior to the onset of the SAG-AFTRA strike.

The film also stars “Spider-Man: No Way Home” actress Zendaya Coleman in the role of Tash Duncani, and she explained to the outlet that the director’s strength was in finding “sensuality and desire” within the text and holding back on releasing the tension. She said, “What Luca’s really good at is finding sensuality and desire. There’s so much in just glances. The tension builds. Not having the release is a good thing sometimes.”

Although the tennis drama – directed by Luca Guadagnino – was due to premiere at the Venice Film Festival, followed by a theatrical release on September 15, it has now been pushed back to April 26, 2024, according to The Hollywood Reporter.

The move comes as SAG-AFTRA actors, including Zendaya, 26, are prevented from doing promotional work amid the ongoing strike. One insider explained the move, telling THR, “How do you go to Venice without Zendaya supporting?”

Zendaya previously insisted that she is not following a strict career plan despite becoming one of the most sought-after stars in Hollywood. She said, “I never really thought, ‘I have to do this by this time and I want to do this by that time.’ “

“I just want to do the things that make me happy and bring me joy and fulfil me as an artist, as a person. So, I keep that loose, because if one day it turns into a completely different career path, then I would allow myself to do that. The idea of trying to direct in the future excites me.”

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