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Zendaya, Josh O’Connor and Mike Faist to Star in Luca Guadagnino Tennis Drama ‘Challengers’

Josh O'Connor Zendaya Mike Faist
O'Connor: Nicol Biesek for Variety; Zendaya: AP; Faist: Michael Buckner

Zendaya, Josh O’Connor and “West Side Story” star Mike Faist are set to star in Luca Guadagnino’s new romantic drama “Challengers” at MGM.

“Spider-Man: No Way Home” producer Amy Pascal is producing the film via her Pascal Pictures alongside Zendaya and Guadagnino. Playwright Justin Kuritzkes is penning the script.

The film centers on the competitive world of pro tennis, in which player-turned-coach Tashi (Zendaya) has transformed her husband Art (Faist) into a Grand Slam champion. After a losing streak, Tashi enters him into a “Challenger” event — the lowest pro tournament level — where he must face off against Patrick (O’Connor), Tashi’s former boyfriend and his former best friend.

Zendaya’s deal for the film is closed, while O’Connor and Faist are still in negotiations. Production on “Challengers” is planned to begin in the spring on the East Coast.

“Challengers” joins Guadagnino’s intriguing upcoming slate, including “Bones and All” with Timothée Chalamet and his Audrey Hepburn biopic starring Rooney Mara.

Emmy-winning actor Zendaya is currently starring in the second season of HBO’s wildly popular teenage drama “Euphoria.” She recently reprised the role of MJ in “Spider-Man: No Way Home.”

O’Connor, who is also an Emmy winner for his role as young Prince Charles in “The Crown,” is next set to star in romance “The History of Sound” alongside Paul Mescal.

Following his breakout role as Riff in “West Side Story,” Faist will next be seen in “Pinball: The Man Who Saved the Game” from Austin and Meredith Bragg.

Matt Belloni’s Puck newsletter was the first to report the news of Zendaya’s casting.