Challengers: Release Date, Cast, Trailer And Other Things We Know About The Upcoming Zendaya Sports Film

Challengers is coming to a theater near you soon – and this is what we know about it. 

As someone who is a part of Generation Z, plenty of celebrities have been up and coming for many years from my specific age group. You could bring up Hailee Steinfeld, Olivia Rodrigo, or even Billie Eilish, and the one who has genuinely exploded over the last few years is Zendaya. 

Starting her career on The Disney Channel with shows such as Shake It Off and K.C. Undercover, Zendaya has only continued to become even more popular since then, going on to star in some giant movies, and now, she’s going to be headlining this next sports drama, Challengers.

But who else is going to be starring in Challengers? And when is it going to be released? Here is what we know so far for all the questions you could have about the upcoming movie.  

What Is The Challengers Release Date?

Zendaya looking forward while wearing a strapless blue dress in Challengers.

<span class="credit">(Image credit: MGM)</span>

Challengers has a set release date of April 26, 2024, according to Deadline. Initially, the film was supposed to come out in September 2023. However, it was pushed back to April 2024 due to the SAG-AFTRA strike. 

Even so, that means Challengers joins the ever-growing 2024 movie release schedule. April 2024 is already filled to the brim with films releasing, such as The First Omen,  Dev Patel’s directorial debut Monkey Man, and a new A24 film, Civil War. It’s undoubtedly going to be a packed month. 

Watch The Trailer For Challengers

If you’re interested in Challengers, check out the trailer above. It features our main stars and the story we are about to dive into – one of romance, friendship, rivalries, and competition in professional tennis. 

With any of the best sports movies, there is plenty of competition, so we know that Challengers will involve that for sure, but this film will be a little more dramatic than others – as love starts to get into the mix. 

MGM had an official synopsis for the film on their website, stating that Challengers all starts with Tashi, a young up-and-coming tennis star who has taken the world by storm and meets two other young tennis players. Unfortunately, Tashi suffers an injury that prevents her from playing tennis again, and she uses her talent to become a coach. 

She coaches her husband, Art, to become a Grand Slam champion, but recently, he’s been having a losing streak. She decides to enter him into a “Challenger” event to break him out of it, which is said to be close to the “lowest level” of pro he could play. However, things are shaken up when he faces his former best friend – and wife’s former lover – in his competition. 

This already feels so dramatic – and I am here for it.  

Zendaya, Josh O’Conner, Mike Faist And Jake Jensen Star

The main cast of Challengers.

<span class="credit">(Image credit: MGM)</span>

If you were wondering who else is going to star in Challengers, we have you covered. As mentioned above, Zendaya is the main star for this film, but the news of her casting also noted that she would star in Challengers with Josh O’Connor and Mike Faist. The news came from Deadline in February 2022. Their characters will be Tashi, Art, and Patrick.

Zendaya as Tashi Duncan

John David Washington And Zendaya: What To Watch Streaming If You Like The Malcolm And Marie Stars

Zendaya in Malcolm & Marie.

<span class="credit">(Image credit: Netflix)</span>

If you love Zendaya, be sure to check out what to watch her in, along with John David Washington. 

Zendaya will play Tashi Duncan, the main character in the film. Zendaya stars in the Euphoria cast, a role that has earned her two Primetime Emmy awards, but she’s also appeared in various movies. These include the Spider-Man films at the MCU, both Dune films,The Greatest Showman, Malcolm & Marie, and more. 

Zendaya even opened up why she took on the role of Challengers in an interview with Elle in August 2023 (conducted prior to the strike), saying that she felt it was “a good step” into more adult roles:

I felt like it was a good step into a more, I guess you could say, ‘grown-up’ role and into that next phase. It was a little bit scary to take on, which I think is a good feeling. To be like, ‘Ooh, can I do this?’ You could run from that feeling and stay safe and comfortable, or you can go, ‘You know what, f*ck it.’

Zendaya even said in that same interview that even after filming the movie, she’s still trying to figure out the decisions that Tashi makes, which means she’s quite the developed character:

I still don’t understand the decisions she makes, and we had so many conversations about the psychology of her and why she is that way. What was important to me was that she was unapologetic about it. Sometimes characters who are messy and conflicted and wield power over other people are reserved for [actors] who don’t look like me, so when I get an opportunity to play a character like that, I’ma take it!

Josh O’Connor as Patrick

Josh O’Conner will play Patrick, the husband of Tashi in Challengers. 

The actor has appeared in T.V. shows such as Doctor Who and Peaky Blinders. He also portrayed Charles III in The Crown on Netflix and appeared in the period film Emma. Recently in 2023 he appeared in the film, Bonus Track, and worked as a story writer for it. 

Mike Faist as Art Donaldson

Mike Faist will play Art Donaldson, a former lover of Tashi’s in Challengers. 

Faist gained worldwide recognition for his role in the West Side Story cast in 2021, but he’s also appeared in films such as Touched with Fire, Wildling, and The Unspeakable Act. He’s also set to appear in the upcoming film The Bikeriders. 

Jake Jensen

Also confirmed to appear in Challengers is Jake Jensen, who Distract T.V. confirmed in August 2023. It will be his film debut. 

I for one can’t wait to see what this cast does. 

What The Cast Has Said About The Movie

Josh O'Conner in Challengers.

<span class="credit">(Image credit: MGM)</span>

So while Challengers itself already sounds like a good sports drama, but Zendaya, in an interview with O’Conner for VMan in August 2023, said that the film is all about codependency – in fact, it’s so much like it that she calls the film, “Codependency: The Movie:”

I often call this movie “Codependency: The Movie.” I love seeing peoples’ take on the characters when they’ve only seen the trailer. It’s like, just wait – you have no idea.

That interview from VMan also gave us a good idea of what the movie will feel like – at least in its watchability, and O’Conner related it back to the hit coming-of-age movie, Superbad, because the film is “such a thrill:”

I’m not saying that Challengers is like Superbad in any way, but I think Challengers has the potential. And this is what my friend was articulating. It can be one of those films that you can just keep watching because it’s such a thrill. It’s like a drug. The excitement just drives you right through to the film and it doesn’t feel long, you don’t labor through it.

Another intriguing thing that came up was something that was said about tennis – that the sport itself is the steamy part of the movie. In fact, Josh O’Conner spoke in an interview with Empire in October 2023 that the tennis scenes are really the “sexy” part of Challengers:

The tennis is the sex. Those moments are so sexy. The film is dealing with the tension before and after. The sex they’re all desperate for is on the court.

Alright, now I’m even more curious because I don’t know how you can make sweating on a court sexy but sign me up. 

Luca Guadagnino Directed The Film

Mike Faist in Challengers.

<span class="credit">(Image credit: MGM)</span>

As confirmed in the Deadline article announcing the main cast, Luca Guadagnino directed Challengers. The director is known for many films that plenty of people have seen, such as Call Me By Your Name, A Bigger Splash, Bones and All, Suspiria, and many more. 

The director had the chance to talk about Challengers in an interview with Collider in November 2022. When asked about what inspired him to make this movie, Guadagnino said it was a variety of things, from the script to even working with Zendaya: 

Many elements. The great script from Justin Kuritzkes, sexy and fun, and never done something like that. Working with Amy Pascal, who I adore, who I feel, respectfully to her wonderful husband, I feel married with. And Zendaya, of course, she’s just inspiring and sublime. So there were so many great elements that I couldn’t say no, basically. I was like, I have to say yes.

I, for one, can’t wait to see this film – and the drama that comes with it. 

Justin Kuritzkes Wrote The Script

Mike Faist in Challengers.

<span class="credit">(Image credit: MGM)</span>

Also confirmed from the Deadline article regarding the cast was that Justin Kuritzkes wrote the script for Challengers. Kuritzkes is primarily a novelist and playwright, but this will be his first screenplay. He’s also working on another adaptation with Guadagnino, Queer. 

Challengers Will Be Rated R

Zendaya in Challengers.

<span class="credit">(Image credit: MGM)</span>

The last thing we know about Challengers is that the film will be Rated R, according to the official MGM website. This isn’t that much of a shocker, as most of Guadagnino’s films tend to trend in that direction, and from the first trailer, it certainly felt like it was. 

When the trailer first released, I thought it would be more of a teen sports drama, but I’m down for something more mature than any of us were expecting. It just makes me want April to come even quicker. 

Challengers is coming out soon, and we are counting down the days. What are you excited about the most when it comes to this film? All I know is that I will have to take up my tennis lessons again to prepare for this. 


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