Zendaya Dives Deep into 'Challengers'

From embracing future motherhood to the intricacies of producing, Zendaya shares insights into her multifaceted role in 'Challengers,' revealing the layers of her character, Tashi.

Zendaya, known for her fashion icon status, returns with another round of captivating looks during her press tour for her new film, "Challengers." This time, she embraces a tennis-themed aesthetic, perfectly aligning with the movie's theme.

In "Challengers," Zendaya portrays Tashi Duncan, a once-prominent tennis prodigy who has transitioned into a coach. The film follows Tashi's journey as she navigates her unapologetic approach to the game and life on and off the court. Adding another layer to her character, Tashi is also a mother in the film.

In a recent conversation with BET, Zendaya shared insights into her preparation for the role, particularly how she tapped into her motherly side. She explained that she drew inspiration from her mother and other maternal figures to understand the complexities of motherhood and bring authenticity to her portrayal of Tashi.

Zendaya also discussed her nuanced character, highlighting Tashi's determination, resilience, and vulnerability. She spoke about the challenges of balancing Tashi's strength and vulnerability, ensuring the character felt relatable and multidimensional. The Challengers had that one 80s techno-feel instrumental that replayed through different scenes—how did the music, particularly this track, contribute to the atmosphere and storytelling of the film? 

Zendaya: I would have to give that credit to [Luca Guadagnino]. He said he wanted this feeling, like the movie and the music, to feel like a soda on a hot summer day that you just want to be refreshed by. He had this amazing idea of making it almost like rave music, and it's so interesting because it adds such tension and intensity to the scenes. I've had the privilege of watching it many times and when I watched it earlier, it didn't have the music yet, and I still loved it. The addition of the music just adds such a pulse. While you’re not being a mom, you play one in the film — how did you tap into that motherly side while playing Tashi, and did that make you a bit intrigued on what motherhood may look like for you in the future?

Zendaya: I’ve always loved that idea because I love kids and would love to have kids one day. 

Because I have nieces and nephews, they are my bothered children and then I bring them back to their parents. For my character, Tashi, Tashi, I think it's important to see her as a mother because you see her tenderness and fragility when she's with her daughter, so the audience will understand she isn’t all hardcore.” Your bestie, Darnell, is in the film. How was it working with your BFF, and how does it feel to know you can put them in position? 

Zendaya: Truthfully, Luca cast him because he felt Darnell had a spirit of truth and justice. Darnell and I met on the set of KC Undercover on Disney Channel, where he was my stand-in—that's how we met, connected, and became family. He nailed it in the film. 

Watch the full interview below:

You can see the “Challengers” only in theaters on April 26th. 

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