Zendaya-Starring ‘Challengers’ Set to Open Venice Film Festival

The film, directed by Luca Guadagnino, also stars Mike Faist and Josh O’Connor

"Challengers"
"Challengers" (CREDIT: Courtesy of Prime Video)

After delivering a blisteringly saucy trailer, Luca Guadagnino’s latest film “Challengers” will set the Venice Film Festival ablaze as their opening night film, screening out of competition, TheWrap has confirmed.

The film follows Zendaya as Tashi Duncan, a successful tennis champ drawn to two men, played by Mike Faist and Josh O’Connor. But the pair continue to become entwined in each other’s lives to a dangerous degree.

This isn’t the first time Guadagnino has debuted a feature at the Venice Film Festival. His 2009 feature “I Am Love” screened at the fest, as well as 2015’s “A Bigger Splash,” 2018’s “Suspiria” and last year’s “Bones and All.” Zendaya has also had a feature screen in Venice, with 2021’s “Dune,” the second half of which will debut later this year.

The script comes from newcomer Justin Kuritzkes with Amy Pascal, Luca Guadagnino, Zendaya and Rachel O’Connor acting as producers.

Zendaya has won two Primetime Emmys for Sam Levinson’s high school drama, “Euphoria.” She’s appeared in other films, most recently in the circus musical “The Greatest Showman.” She’s joined by “West Side Story” breakout star Mike Faist, as well as Josh O’Connor, who held his own as Prince Charles in the long-running Netflix series, “The Crown.”

The full Venice lineup of films will debut July 25. “Challengers” will release in theaters Sept. 15.

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