Growing up in the public eye and getting real about more mature roles. Zendaya has spoken candidly about filming more intimate scenes in the movie Challengers, set to premiere in 2024 (originally, the movie was set to premiere in late 2023, but the release date has since been pushed).

While discussing the movie, Zendaya admitted that it’s her “first time really being a leading lady, if you will,” during an interview with Elle in August 2023.

“I felt like it was a good step into a more, I guess you could say, ‘grown-up’ role and into that next phase,” she shared. “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–k it.’”

In the tennis film, Zendaya stars as Tashi, a former player who starts to coach her husband, Art’s (Mike Faist) career after an injury derails hers.

“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,” the Euphoria actress told Elle of her character. “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!”

A few notable moments from the film include some more intimate scenes between Zendaya and her two leading men — other than Mike, actor Josh O’Connor plays the role of Patrick. The HBO star joked that her fans are “more ready than I am” to see her in a more mature role such as this, and thankfully, Zendaya has been candid about the experience. Not to mention, the Disney Channel alum has explained how she and director Luca Guadagnino share the same values in terms of filmmaking.

Scroll through our gallery for Zendaya’s honest quotes about filming the sex and more intimate scenes in Challengers.

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