Zendaya is game, set, match for Luca Guadagnino‘s “Challengers.”

The tennis-centric drama follows Zendaya’s Tashi Duncan, a once-promising tennis prodigy whose knee injury puts her out of the game for good. However, Tashi isn’t one to shy away from a challenge: She steps in to coach husband Art (Mike Faist) and ex Patrick (Josh O’Connor), playing them off each other. Years later, though, she’s once again torn between the duo even after Patrick re-enters her and Art’s married life.

Guadagnino directs the film from a script penned by Justin Kuritzkes. Lead star Zendaya produces “Challengers,” along with Guadagnino, Amy Pascal, and Rachel O’Connor. Bernard Bellew, Lorenzo Mieli, and Kevin Ulrich executive produce.

Director Guadagnino revealed that the cast trained for three months with former professional tennis player Brad Gilbert, who served as a consultant on the film. The cast spent two to three hours playing tennis six days a week, followed by an additional two hours at the gym daily post-practice and before rehearsals. “Bones and All” and “Call Me By Your Name” filmmaker Guadagnino revealed that Zendaya‘s body double was not used in the final cut of the tennis scenes.

Actor O’Connor “physically transformed” over the course of production, according to co-star Faist. O’Connor told GQ, “I remember Luca saying to me: ‘Actors are like racehorses: You have to keep them in condition if you want them to run as fast as they can.’ I think what he means is nice hotels, nice food … but being in a hotel room isn’t the best condition for me. It was so luxurious and I just felt depressed.”

Guadagnino previously teased “Challengers” to IndieWire, saying, “I think those three characters in that movie are beautifully complex and really fucked-up people that I love very much. And a sports film, why not? It’s hyperkinetic, and I do films, so it’s great.”

“Challengers” was set to open the 2023 Venice Film Festival; the Amazon/MGM film release was delayed due to the then-ongoing SAG-AFTRA strike. “Comandante” instead debuted opening night at Venice.

“Challengers” premieres April 26 in theaters. Check out the new trailer below.

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