Zendaya sends queer fans into a tailspin with steamy Challengers trailer: ‘Insanely f***ing hot’

Mike Faist (L), Zendaya and Josh O'Connor (R) in Challengers.

The first trailer for Zendaya’s sultry new film Challengers has landed, and the internet has completely lost its cool.

Whether Zendaya is landing historic Emmy wins for playing troubled teen lesbian Rue in Euphoria, stealing hearts with her epically sapphic jewellery advert opposite Anne Hathaway or unapologetically speaking up for trans rights, she has long been an LGBTQ+ icon.

Now she’s adding another iconic moment to the list in the first trailer for romantic drama Challengers.

Directed by prolific queer film director Luca Guadagnino (Call me By Your Name), the movie follows the high-stakes love triangle between tennis star turned coach Tashi (Zendaya) and childhood best friends turned enemies Art (Mike Faist) and Patrick (Josh O’Connor).

Described as “the art of seduction and other games”, Tashi embarks on a dangerous but exhilarating three-way relationship with the two men at the height of her tennis career.

But after suffering a life-altering tennis injury, she decides to marry Art and coaches him from mediocrity to grand slam champion. Years later, Patrick re-enters their lives when the two men face off against one another on the tennis field – but will burgeoning resentment and bitter jealousy threaten everything Tashi and Art have built?

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“Tennis player turned coach Tashi has taken her husband, Art, and transformed him into a world-famous grand slam champion,” reads the official synopsis.

“To jolt him out of his recent losing streak, she makes him play a ‘Challenger’ event – close to the lowest level of pro tournament – where he finds himself standing across the net from his former best friend and Tashi’s former boyfriend (Josh O’Connor).”

The drama boasts not only a star-studded cast but also immaculate queer energy. Alongside Zendaya and Guadagnino, our two male leads are gay icons in their own right. Faist is currently starring in Brokeback Mountain‘s West End adaptation while O’Connor is acclaimed for his role in LGBTQ+ classic God’s Own Country.

The new trailer also teases plenty of sexual tension, hinting at Art’s childhood crush on Patrick and, naturally, threesomes galore. The chemistry between the trio is perhaps best summed up in Tashi’s delivery of the line: “I’m taking such good care of my little white boys.”

Fans on social media have been sent into a tailspin as they eagerly await the film to drop in September.

Guadagnino – also behind fan-favourite queer cannibal film Bones and All – hinted at what people can expect from Challengers during the Bones and All New York Film Festival red carpet premiere last year in an interview with IndieWire.

Describing it as a portrait of “f**ked up” people, he added: “I think those three characters in that movie are beautifully complex and really f**ked-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 is set to hit theatres on 15 September, 2023.

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