Zendaya, Luca Guadagnino, Josh O’Connor And Mike Faist On ‘Challengers’

Zendaya, Luca Guadagnino, Josh O’Connor and Mike Faist on ‘Challengers’


GUADAGNINO And yet you have an incredible capacity of observational reality. You know reality in a beautiful way, and you use it a lot in the way you then portray it.

Zendaya, Luca Guadagnino, Josh O’Connor and Mike Faist on ‘Challengers’

ZENDAYA While that’s true, I think I overly do it. I’m overly conscious of everything else around me.

GUADAGNINOBecause Z is a director. I told you many times, and I repeat it now to The Times.

ZENDAYA I love being on set because it is not just creatively stimulating, but it’s one of the few places where I feel free. Whatever that thing in my brain is where it’s overly critical and self-conscious, that is the one place where I can be spontaneous and exist for the purpose of just creating something with other people and feel no guilt about it. But I’m not at the place where I’m quite confident enough to step into directing.

Zendaya, Luca Guadagnino, Josh O’Connor and Mike Faist on ‘Challengers’

I’m still blown away when I watch people like Luca: Five people is coming up to you, asking you, “This or that?” or “What’s next?” and he has to have an answer. I’d find myself like, “I just want to make everybody happy, what do you need?” Once I feel more confident in my assertiveness or decision-making, then I feel like then I’ll be able to take that step.

Denis Villeneuve said that of all the actors who worked on “Dune: Part Two,” you were the likeliest to stay on set and ask the questions that a director might.

ZENDAYA I get to be with the greatest around me all the time, and I’m like, “Let me sponge and get as much from this as possible.” For many years, I was embarrassed to ask questions — I was like, “I don’t want to waste people’s time.” But you’d be surprised at how many people are like, “Oh my God, come on in. This is this film stock, this is the reference for this shot.” People love sharing what they do, and I’m lucky to be in a place where I can absorb it.

Zendaya, Luca Guadagnino, Josh O’Connor and Mike Faist on ‘Challengers’

And like I said, sets are places I feel safe because everybody already knows who I am and I can just walk around and go talk to everybody. It creates this community, and I’ll see Bianca [Butti, camera operator] and be like, “Hey. How was your night? Did you sleep all right?” or go up to Kim, our AD, and we can chat. You create these little families and these little bubbles, and I can walk around and eat snacks and do whatever, and I feel like I’m just another person who’s making this thing with everyone else. So hopefully one day that confidence will kick in, but until then, I’ll just keep learning.


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