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Zendaya Says All the Attention Surrounding Her Kissing Scenes Is ‘Very Odd’: ‘Part of My Job’

Zendaya Says All the Attention Surrounding Her Kissing Scenes Is Very Odd
Zendaya Gareth Cattermole/Getty Images

Ahead of the release of Challengers, Zendaya admitted she doesn’t fully understand the vested interest in her kissing scenes.

While being interviewed on “Jake’s Takes” on Sunday, April 21, the actress, 27, was asked about the “abnormal amount of attention paid” to her kissing scenes by the media.

“I know, it’s very odd,” she said. “I have no idea [why]. I don’t know if it’s because they want it to be a viral thing, but I have noticed that — with me, specifically. I feel like other actors don’t — if there was somebody else here, you probably wouldn’t ask that question. But yeah, it is a part of my job and it’s a completely normal part of the job, despite maybe other people’s perception of our job. But yeah, it is odd.”

She added, “Thank you for bringing that up because I was thinking the same thing. This is weird.”

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Though the trailer features what appears to be the lead-up to a steamy threesome, Zendaya warned that the scenes in the R-rated film don’t actually show much. “What’s really special about this movie is that it is incredibly sexy, but there surprisingly [are] no sex scenes,” she told IndieWire. “I’ve been asked a lot about sex scenes from people who have seen the movie, and I’m like, ‘What sex scenes?’”

Zendaya Says All the Attention Surrounding Her Kissing Scenes Is Very Odd
Zendaya Says All the Attention Surrounding Her Kissing Scenes Is Very Odd Neil Mockford/Filmmagic

Directed by Luca Guadagnino, Challengers stars Zendaya as Tashi, a tennis star-turned-coach in the middle of a messy love triangle with two other athletes: her husband Art, played by Mike Faist, and former flame Patrick, portrayed by Josh O’Connor.

“From a character perspective, I want to find things that will push me,” Zendaya told Elle in an August 2023 interview about her Challengers role. “As I get older, you know, I can’t play a teenager for the rest of my life.”

Challengers marks one of Zendaya’s first, full-fledged leading-lady roles as the 30-year-old Tashi after playing teenagers for most of her acting career. “I’m always in a high school somewhere,” she told Vogue in an interview published on April 9. “And, mind you, I never went to high school.”

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It was for that reason that the Dune: Part Two star found Tashi “so refreshing.” She added, “It was also kind of scary, because I was like, I hope people buy me as my own age, or maybe a little bit older, because I have friends that have kids, or are having kids.”

Zendaya reportedly trained in tennis for months to prepare for filming to prepare for the role of Tashi, even getting the stamp of approval from real-life tennis legend, Serena Williams. “She did say that it was great considering that I had never, never touched a tennis ball before,” Zendaya told Entertainment Tonight on Friday, April 19.

“She’s wonderful,” Guadagnino told Variety of Zendaya in October 2022 after filming had wrapped. “I mean, wow. We edited the movie, and we almost actually don’t use any of her double. She’s so good.”

The director further praised the Challengers star as a “wonderful partner to work with” in an August 2023 interview with Elle. “The way she expresses and exudes the power of her athleticism is wonderful, but at the same time, the way she goes through seduction is very beautiful in the film,” he said at the time.

Challengers is set to release in theaters on Friday, April 26.

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