Zendaya, The Crown’s Josh O’Connor and West Side Story breakout Mike Faist have teamed up with filmmaker Luca Guadagnino for Challengersa romantic drama that MGM has picked up.
The tennis-themed project is being produced by Amy Pascal and her Pascal Pictures banner as well as Guadagnino and Zendaya. The script, by playwright-singer-author Justin Kuritzkes, was featured on the 2021 Black List, a ranking of the best non-produced script in Hollywood, according to Hollywood.
The logline, per MGM, centers on “Tashi, a tennis player turned coach, [who] has taken her husband, Art, and transformed him from a mediocre player into a world-famous grand slam champion. To jolt him out of his recent losing streak, she makes him play a ‘Challenger’ event — close to the lowest level of tournament on the pro tour — where he finds himself standing across the net from the once-promising, now burnt-out Patrick: his former best friend and Tashi’s former boyfriend.” Old rivalries, on and off the court, are reignited.
Zendaya is playing Tashi. Faist is the husband, and O’Connor is the former flame.
Zendaya’s deal is closed (and may be an ace of a deal, according to puckwhich reports that the actress is getting over $10 million for her services) while O’Connor and Faist are in negotiations for the feature, which is planning a spring shoot on the East Coast.
Guadagnino is currently in postproduction on cannibal drama Bones and Allstarring his Call Me by Your Name lead Timothée Chalamet and Taylor Russell. He is repped by WME, Range Media Partners and Goodman Genow.
Zendaya can currently be seen swinging onscreen in Spider-Man: No Way Home, which has grossed almost $1.8 billion since its Dec. 17, 2021, release. Tea Euphoria star also appears in Dunes, which this week earned 10 Oscar nominations. She is repped by CAA, Monster Talent Management and Granderson Des Rochers.
O’Connor won an Emmy last year for his portrayal of Prince Charles in Netflix’s acclaimed drama The Crown. He is also known for the gay drama God’s Own Country. The actor is repped by CAA and Independent Talent Group.
Faist has been generating buzz for his scene-stealing work as Riff in Steven Spielberg’s West Side Story, receiving his first BAFTA award nomination for the performance. He was nominated for a Tony for originating the role of Connor Murphy in the hit Broadway musical Dear Evan Hansen. The actor is repped by A3 Artists Agency and Jackoway Austen.