Luca Guadagnino is one of the most interesting filmmakers at the moment. But not because he directs huge and expensive screen spectacles like James Cameron, but because he knows how to take such a deep look inside his characters like no other. But while others are interested in merely illuminating the dark elements and – if you will – drawing out the inner monster, even in darkly pessimistic works like “Bones and All”, which you can currently stream on Amazon Prime Video, a certain hope resonates. Man is fundamentally sound. He wants what everything in nature wants: affection. That desire manifests itself in as many different ways as there are people in the world – and some will go to any length to get it.
After his so-called Desire trilogy with “I Am Love,” “A Bigger Splash” and “Call Me by Your Name,” the 51-year-old returns with “Challengers,” a sports drama that focuses on a complicated love triangle between three driven men (Zendaya, Mike Faist and Josh O’Connor). The first trailer for it is as hypnotic as it is electrifying:
“Challengers” apparently has all the ingredients fans expect from a Luca Guadagnino film: people in an exceptionally important phase of life for them, passion and desire, inner worlds colliding, betrayal, unfulfilled longings and love, lots of love, just not in the all too often striking and romanticized Hollywood variety. But is it a sports drama or a love drama after all? Hard to say. In Guadagnino’s work, genre boundaries are often dissolved, just as real life and togetherness don’t follow a straight line.
Tashi Duncan (“Euphoria” and Marvel star Zendaya), a formerly promising tennis player whose rise to No. 1 in the world rankings was brought to an abrupt halt by an injury, has since become a coach focused entirely on the career of her husband Art (Mike Faist), who has become a world tennis star with her help and support. To get him out of his slump in form, she gets him to play in an underclass Challenger tournament. There he meets his former best buddy and Tashi’s ex-boyfriend Patrick (Josh O’Connor). An exchange of blows on the court could hardly be more personal.
“Challengers” opens in cinemas on September 15, 2023.
Challengers: Fans Tease Tom Holland on Social Media
One thing is certain: “Challengers” will focus on a pretty hot love triangle. The trailer alone can hardly contain the electrifying tension between Zendaya, Mike Faist and Josh O’Connor. Fans of Tom Holland have noticed that as well. Holland and Zendaya not only play Peter Parker aka Spider-Man and his beloved MJ in the Marvel Cinematic Universe (MCU), but they are also a couple in real life. The temptation to humorously conflate that on social media in conjunction with the trailer for “Challengers” was hard to resist:
“Tom Holland’s reaction to the ‘Challengers’ trailer”.
“Tom Holland after visiting her on set.”
Tom Holland trying to sleep at night, knowing that Zendaya gets tag teamed.
Zendaya can also be seen in the “Dune” films alongside Luca Guadagnino regular Timothée Chalamet, in addition to the Marvel films:
“Zendaya, after splitting her time between her boyfriend Tom Holland and Timothée Chalamet on the press tour for ‘Dune’: ‘I take good care of my little white boys.”
However, while most of the memes were intended as fun, some voices claimed to have detected misogynistic tendencies behind some of the comments and defended Zendaya:
“The Zendaya tweets are just misogyny disguised as a joke. This was Tom Holland earlier this month. They [Tom Holland and Zendaya] are actors.”