Rian Johnson and Edgar Wright Praise ‘Challengers’ for Being a ‘Propulsive’ Masterpiece

Rian Johnson and Edgar Wright both think “Challengers” is a grand slam.

The two directors took to social media to praise Luca Guadagnino’s buzzy feature starring Zendaya, Josh O’Connor, and Mike Faist as a tumultuous trio of tennis pros who may or may not all be harboring feelings for each other (they are.)

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“So I loved loved LOVED ‘Challengers’ – didn’t know what to expect, and walked out of the theater totally buzzing,” Johnson tweeted. “It’s smart and sophisticated while still poppy and propulsive, basically ‘Design For Living’ as a kick-ass sports movie. Seriously IT’S SO GOOD.”

Meanwhile, Wright shared on Instagram his own praise for the Guadagnino feature.

“Mio amico Luca Guadagnino has a grand slam* of a new movie finally hitting cinemas this week and it’s truly fantastic,” Wright wrote. “Go see the sexy, funny, and thrilling ‘Challengers,’ with the formidable trio of Zendaya, Josh O’Connor, and Mike Faist all burning up the screen. You will enjoy it immensely! Almost as much as this photo of me looking like Luca’s 8 year old nephew. (*I know nothing about tennis).”

And Wright and Johnson aren’t the only filmmakers taking notice of Zendaya’s star power both on and off screen: “Dune: Part Two” auteur Denis Villeneuve said during “The Director’s Cut” podcast that he expects the “Euphoria” actress to direct at some point in her career.

“She’s so clever, but shows she’s brilliant and her strong presence, and she was always on set even when she was not shooting,” Villeneuve told Steven Spielberg during the podcast. “Just sitting between cinematographer Greg and I listening, listening and listening. So I would not be surprised that one day we learn that she wants to go behind the camera.”

“Challengers” filmmaker Guadagnino agreed, telling the New York Times that Zendaya “is a director. I told you many times, and I repeat it now to The Times.”

Zendaya admitted that while she is open to directing, she is still is not “quite confident enough to step into” that role just yet.

“I get to be with the greatest around me all the time, and I’m like, ‘Let me sponge and get as much from this as possible,’” she said. “For many years, I was embarrassed to ask questions — I was like, ‘I don’t want to waste people’s time.’ But you’d be surprised at how many people are like, ‘Oh my God, come on in. This is this film stock, this is the reference for this shot.’ People love sharing what they do, and I’m lucky to be in a place where I can absorb it. […] Once I feel more confident in my assertiveness or decision-making, then I feel like then I’ll be able to take that step.”

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