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“It felt like the right time”: Zendaya’s Challengers Role Might Be the Most Challenging Role of Her Career as Actress Breaks Out of Teenage Stereotype
2024/07/03

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Zendaya got her big break thanks to Disney Channel’s and from there, she went on to become one of the most sought-after actresses of today. She has many incredible accolades to her name including a Golden Globe. Needless to say, the child prodigy grew up to hit Hollywood with a force never seen before.

However, it seemed like for a long time Zendaya has been stuck playing younger characters in projects like and But now, the actress her has taken the stereotype and tossed it straight into the trash can with her latest movie,

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In a recent interview, Zendaya talks about playing a grown-up in the film and the thoughts that went through her mind during the same.

Zendaya Talks about Playing an Adult in

Directed by , is a film about a tennis coach, Tashi (), who transforms her husband Art () from a mediocre Tennis player to a grand champion. The two also have a young daughter together. Needless to say, Zendaya plays a much more mature role in than in any project before.

In an interview with , the actress was asked about what was on her mind while playing Tashi, an adult character with a family and a career.

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It’s almost as if Zendaya was waiting for this exact question because she had the perfect response to it.

She stated that she had been playing the roles of teenagers ever since she was a teenager and was finally the project that gave her something more – a chance to show that she can play a wide array of characters. While Tashi and she didn’t share the same it was a bit challenging for her to bring the character to life. However, she felt like it was about time she accepted the challenge of playing such a character.

“I’ve been playing 16-year-olds since I was 16. So it was nice to play a character that was not a child anymore.

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It was also interesting playing parts of my life that I haven’t experienced yet: I’ve not gotten married. I’ve not had a child. Those milestones, I don’t necessarily have a direct reference point in my own life for. That was different to feel. Ultimately, it felt like the right time for a character like this. “

has received a great score of 88% from Rotten Tomatoes with the critical consensus praising the “trio of outstanding performers” for their work in the film.

How Zendaya Prepped for Her Role in

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Guadagnino’s has been described as transformative for Zendaya’s career. The character of Tashi is complicated, & marks a big shift from the roles she has played earlier. Preparing for it was super challenging for the star, as the character required a strong grip on tennis; a sport she admitted to being ignorant about.

While in conversation with Variety, she revealed her extensive research into the sport:

“I didn’t know anything about tennis, to be honest. So I just threw myself in there. I’ve pretty much seen every video, every match that’s online, every compilation, every interview. It became my thing.

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Anytime I wasn’t at work, I was watching something. My Instagram became full of tennis stuff.”

Being a phenomenal dancer, Zendaya leveraged her talent for dancing in learning tennis. She said,

“But something that is on my side is that I have a dance background, so I tried to approach it from the sensibility of mimicking. I might not actually be the most perfect tennis player, and the ball might not go where I need it to go, but I don’t really have to worry about the ball anyway. We can put the ball in later. It became about fitting the movement and trying to match that as much as possible”

She poured her heart & soul into learning the game to authentically portray the character on screen, regularly putting in the hours on the tennis court. This extensive preparation promises to bear rich dividends for her as the film has already received immense praise from critics and fans alike. Zendaya is truly a force to reckon with.

is now playing in theatres.

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