Zendaya Admits the ‘Challengers’ Love Triangle Helps Keep Tashi Close to ‘Her True First Love’ — Tennis | Video

Zendaya thinks the “Challengers” love triangle brings out different sides of her character Tashi Duncan, in addition to keeping her close to her first true love, tennis.

In the film, directed by Luca Guadagnino, Zendaya’s Tashi Duncan meets Art Donaldson (Mike Faist) and Patrick Zweig (Josh O’Connor) when the three of them are up-and-coming in the sport, and their lives remain intertwined to varying degrees.

“They each bring out incredibly different parts of her. I think that’s the whole thing. These people ultimately are codependent on each other to get something out of life that maybe they feel like they’re not getting on their own,” the actress and producer told TheWrap at Tuesday’s Los Angeles premiere. “I think for her, she needs her proximity to tennis, which I think is her true first love. That’s what Art allows her. He’s malleable and he allows her to take control and allows her to lead.”

A chance reunion between the three of them occurs when she registers Art, who is on a losing streak, for a lower-ranked qualifier tournament (called a challenger) where Patrick has signed up to compete as well. Back when Art and Pat played doubles, they went by the moniker Fire and Ice.

“Patrick pushes up against her and ignites a certain fire inside of her that isn’t always good, but sometimes it’s necessary,” Zendaya added. “They call themselves Fire and Ice, but they offer those kinds of things for her, and I think she’s both at the same time.”

However, her costar and “The Crown” alum O’Connor thinks Zendaya is more on the fire side of things — just like his character in the movie.

“Patrick is fire, [Art’s] ice,” the actor said. “I would say I think [it’s the] same.”

“Challengers” hits theaters April 26.

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