“It was absolutely brilliant”: Zendaya’s Steamiest Scene in Challengers Would Have Never Happened if the Original Script Took Over

Sometimes making changes to original scripts gives birth to iconic moments like that in Zendaya's ‘Challengers’.

zendaya in challengers


  • In a surprising twist, the scandalous love triangle between Zendaya, Mike Faist, and Josh O'Connor almost didn't happen.
  • The original script for Challengers almost happened without the iconic intimate scene, until Luca Guadagnino stepped in.
  • Making significant changes to the script, Guadagnino explored the characters’ complex dynamics and intimacy.
Show More
Featured Video

Luca Guadagnino’s recently released Challengers is doing wonders at the box office. So much so that media outlets predicted a staggering box office collection within the opening weekend. Well, a lot of credit for the success and popularity of the film undoubtedly goes to the steamy scenes between Zendaya, Mike Faist, and Josh O’Connor.

Zendaya in a still from Challengers

But hold on, the things that are serving as a source of attraction for audiences towards the movie weren’t actually in the script. This means that the pivotal three-way kiss between Zendaya, Mike Faist, and Josh O’Connor, almost didn’t happen, until Luca Guadagnino changed the course of Justin Kuritzkes’ original script.

Luca Guadagnino Changed the Original Script for Challengers

Hitting the theatres on April 26, Challengers captivated audiences with its purely pleasurable moments and the actor’s raw emotions brilliantly pulled out by Luca Guadagnino. Well, there’s also the three-way kissing scene that remains a memorable highlight of the film, following the buzz created on the internet, after fans noticed a brief glimpse of that steamy moment in the trailer.


However, the scandalous love triangle between Zendaya, Mike Faist, and Josh O’Connor that plays out as the main source of attraction in the movie, almost didn’t happen according to the director and the actors. Speaking with EW, Luca Guadagnino and his stellar ensemble of cast informed the readers how Justin Kuritzkes’ original script was actually devoid of that steamy moment.

The viral Challengers scene
The pivotal three-way kissing scene in Challengers

I don’t think that was in the script at the beginning. Not at all. We discussed at length with Justin the concept that the triangle needs to flesh out the possibility that all the corners touch — that if you’re jealous of someone, you’re not jealous of your partner, you’re jealous also not to be picked by the rival. You want to be the object of the affection of the rival, so you’re jealous of not being part of it as much as you are jealous of your partner being chosen.” Guadagnino stated.

Admitting that the original script had a vastly different direction for the characters’ relationships, the filmmaker stated that the three-way scene between Zendaya, Josh O’Connor, and Mike Faist that has been making waves, almost didn’t happen.

Zendaya’s Pivotal Three-Way Kiss Almost Didn’t Happen

Corroborating with the Call Me By Your Name helmer, Mike Faist confirmed that the pivotal three-way kissing scene between the characters wasn’t a part of the initial storyline. In fact, if Luca Guadagnino had agreed to stick with Justin Kuritzkes’ script, audiences would have never witnessed the raunchy intimate moment that has become a talking point among fans.


The script did change. The script that I think we all initially read before actually signing on and agreeing to the project is different than once we agreed to do it.

Following Mike Faist’s comments, Zendaya clarified how Luca Guadagnino and Justin Kuritzkes worked together on the script and made significant changes to follow the director’s vision. As Guadagnino wanted to explore the characters’ complex dynamics and the passion between them, he brought in the three-way kissing scene.

Zendaya and Josh O’Connor
Zendaya and Josh O’Connor in Luca Guadagnino‘s Challengers

Yeah, there were some drafts… Luca and Justin worked on the script in Italy before we even all got together. I believe [Kuritzkes] hadn’t really done a bunch of drafts of the original thing… and while it was absolutely brilliant, I know that Luca wanted to infuse his own things into it, and so that collaboration started quite early.” Zendaya shared.

Thereafter, the scene made its way into the movie and has thus been praised for its tender and authentic portrayal of intimacy, and its impact on the characters’ development. The scene became a testament to the filmmaker’s creative vision and willingness to take risks. But overall, the film’s deviation from the original script was a fortunate turn of events, which allowed an impactful story to unfold.

Challengers is currently running at your nearest theatres.


Written by Krittika Mukherjee

Articles Published: 1728

Krittika is a News Writer at FandomWire with 2 years of prior experience in lifestyle and web content writing. With her previous works available on HubPages and Medium, she has woven over 1700 stories with us, about fan-favorite actors, movies, and shows. Post-graduate in Journalism and Honors-graduate in English Literature, when this art enthusiast isn't crafting your next favorite article, she finds her escapism in coffee, fiction, and the Wizarding World.