Director Luca Guadagnino (Call Me by Your Name, Bones and All) is bringing some exciting queer tension to the world of tennis in his upcoming film Challengers.
The film follows a Grand Slam tennis champion competing against another tennis player who happens to be a former friend — and his wife’s ex. Besides their competitiveness on the court, that tension between them also spills into the outside world. Challengers features Zendaya as Tashi, Josh O’Connor as Patrick, and Mike Faist as Art.
On Monday, July 31, Empire released a new image of Challengers where O’Connor and Faist are seen shirtless and smirking at each other. In an interview, Faist talked to the publication about Guadagnino’s approach to the film:
“[Guadagnino] 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.”
O’Connor also commented on the tension between the two male characters in the movie. “The tennis is the sex,” he noted. “Those moments are so sexy. The film is dealing with the tension before and after. The sex they’re all desperate for is on the court.”
Zendaya added, “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.”