Mike Faist reveals that co-star Josh O’Connor became a beast for Luca Guadagnino’s Challengers.
The intense drama follows professional tennis players O’Connor and Faist as Zendaya’s two love interests. According to Faist, O’Connor was committed to physically morphing into the character of a tennis pro.
He told GQ, “I watched this guy probably put on close to 10 pounds over the course of the weeks we were working. He physically transformed. He’s a craftsman, and knew exactly what was required of him in the moment.”
For three months, the cast trained six days a week, playing tennis for two to three hours under the guidance of former pro tennis player Brad Gilbert, who consulted on the film. They also hit the gym for two hours daily after tennis practice and before rehearsals.
“If left to my own devices, I’d go to the gym for an hour, then think I could eat whatever I want. I wouldn’t have done anything,” O’Connor joked. “It’s really nice to play someone who is just pure outward energy. I remember when I first read it thinking he’s this tough guy, like a Gallagher brother. But then I remember having a breakthrough where I was convinced he needed to smile. Anytime he’s angry, I’d just whack in a little smile.”
Challengers will release next year in April. It was originally set for August but movie was delayed due to the on-going actors and writers strike.