Los Angeles — After so many years of waiting for Zendaya to get a feature film theatrical role to truly show both her beauty and acting chops, it has finally come with director Luca Guadagnino’s “Challengers.” While “Malcolm and Marie” may have been Zendaya’s first steamy film, this is her first one with a more prestigious cast and not under the thumb of Sam Levinson.
The film tells the sordid tale of tennis pro Tashi Duncan (Zendaya), and her tryst with fellow players Art (Mike Faist), and Patrick (Josh O’Connor) which leads to a psychosexual tale that deals with loyalty and the power that women hold among men.
The highlight of the trailer involves Duncan getting into a threesome with the two players which many on the internet began to meme and be in awe of. Many jokes and jabs come at the expense of Zendaya’s off screen boyfriend/on screen forgotten boyfriend Tom Holland, whom she starred in the MCU Spider-Man trilogy with.
This shows an extreme double standard that comes to female actors gaining sexually empowered roles compared to men. Why is it that when Holland kisses a girl in his new show, “The Crowded Room,” he gets crickets, but Zendaya has a threesome and the whole internet goes ballistic? Now yes, a threesome is very different from a kissing scene, but what both have in common is that it is all an act, because the profession is called acting. Thankfully, many people have also come to defend Zendaya from these memes.
Actors act, and regardless of what is on screen, it should not affect their personal lives. As far as we know, Zendaya and Holland’s relationship is going great and this film is not doing anything to erase it.
If anything, this may be the film that could give Zendaya an Academy Award; she already has two Emmys. I know parasocial relationships are the hot thing right now, but we need to live our own lives and stop inferring into others.
“Challengers” releases this September, while talks for “Spider-Man 4” have been currently stalled due to the ongoing writer’s strike. I will be seated for both.
Zipporah “Zipp” Pruitt, (she/her) is an L.A. homegrown journalist, who covers entertainment and culture. Follow her on Twitter and Instagram: @zippzapps.
Edited by Nykeya Woods