Zendaya Reacts to That Spider-Man to Tennis Player Movie Prophecy

Zendaya shared her thoughts with E! News about the Spider-Man love interest to tennis player movie pipeline that she, Kirsten Dunst and Emma Stone have fallen into.

By Brahmjot Kaur Apr 22, 2024 3:27 PMTags
Watch: See All of Zendaya’s Fashion From the ‘Challengers’ Press Tour!

Zendaya is your latest friendly neighborhood tennis player. 

And with that role in Challengers, she's fulfilling a coincidental prophecy: All Spider-Man love interests—including Kirsten Dunst and Emma Stone—have gone on to star in tennis films. 

"I thought that was quite funny," the actress told E! News' Will Marfuggi in an exclusive interview. "Could you imagine? I'm like, 'You know what I have to do next? It's in the prophecy!'" (Catch more of Zendaya's interview on E! News airing tonight, April 22 at 11 p.m.)

After all, following her role as Mary Jane in 2002's Spider-Man with Tobey Maguire, Kirsten starred in 2004's Wimbledon. Meanwhile, Emma took on Battle of the Sexes in 2017 after her Gwen Stacey romanced Andrew Garfield's superhero in The Amazing Spider-Man in 2012.

While Zendaya inadvertently followed in the footsteps of her marvelous predecessors, taking on her new role—during which she plays a tennis star whose playing career abruptly ends following a devastating injury—required some major introspection.

Zendaya and Tom Holland's Cutest Pics

"My entry point became grief and loss of a career or a life that she wanted or could have had," she explained. "While I don't think that specific thing has happened to me, I think I have dealt with grief before in many different ways. Just this idea: I love what I do, I feel so grateful to do what I do and I'm happiest when I'm on a set. So, in moments where I can't have that or this idea of it being taken away, it would be devastating."

Neil Mockford/Filmmagic

"I couldn't imagine mentally how that would affect me as a human being and how I would show up in the world," Zendaya admitted. "I mean, hopefully, I wouldn't make some of the decisions she makes, but I still empathize with that idea."

While she's found a way to connect with her character the athletic requirements were more challenging. In fact, Zendaya and Josh O'Connor didn't necessarily take to the sport as well as their costar Mike Faist.

"On day one, when I came in," Josh explained to E! News during the joint interview with Zendaya and Mike, "there was a racket here, and I was like, 'How do you hold this thing?'" 

To which the Euphoria star quipped back, "I was like, ‘Bro, don't ask me.'"

Tennis might not be her forte, but serving iconic looks is. During the run up to Challengers' April 26 release, the 27-year-old has continued to turn heads with the tennis-inspired looks she and stylist Law Roach have coordinated. Take, for example, her London premiere look: Zendaya arrived in a white gown with long pleats, a polo-inspired collar and a tennis racket print.

"We have fun building these different characters during the press tour," she recently told E! News, "and drawing influence and inspiration from the film."

Keep reading to see more of Zendaya's jaw-dropping fashion looks.

Oscars Glam

Zendaya rocks a two-piece look to the 2022 Oscars, featuring a cropped silky blouse and bedazzled skirt.

Vintage Valentino

Zendaya sports a spring/summer Valentino gown at the premiere of season two of Euphoria in January 2022.

Gorgeous Gown

Zendaya wore a stunning outfit from Alaïa's Spring/Summer 2022 collection during a September 2021 photocall for Dune in Paris.

Sleek Monochromatic Look

Zendaya arrived at the Dune: Part Two world premiere Feb. 15 in a fembot-inspired vintage Mugler bodysuit. The striking futuristic ensemble, which she paired with jewels from Bulgari, features clear panels around her chest, stomach, arms, thighs and butt. 

Dazzling Dress

Zendaya walked the red carpet in a gorgeous Balmain dress for the 2021 Venice International Film Festival. 

She's Lit (Literally!)

The actress wowed at the 2019 Met Gala in this Cinderella-inspired light-up gown.

Horsin' Around

Zendaya got whimsical in a black velvet dress with horse detailing around the bust.

Colorful Cutie

Zendaya showcased a colorful orange mini dress and matching head scarf for a TV appearance in NYC.

Baby Got Back

Zendaya rocked a backless red and black dress for her Spider-Man: Far From Home premiere in Hollywood.

Green With Envy

For the 2019 Emmy Awards, the fashionista flashed major leg in a gorgeous green gown with a nude illusion bodice and thigh-high slit.

The People have Spoken!

The PCA nominated actress rocks a one-strapped black gown with silver rope detail at the 2019 E!'s Peoples Choice Awards. 

Fab in Fuchsia

The Euphoria actress wears a unique pink Tom Ford bustier with matching skirt during the 2020 Critics' Choice Awards. 

Nude Attitude

Zendaya is simply statuesque in this floor-length nude gown at the 2018 Vanity Fair Oscars party.

Black Beauty

Zendaya shows off her toned tummy in a criss-crossed string outfit with slit sleeves.

White Hot

The actress rocked a white cropped suit with matching pointy shoes at the GQ Men of the Year awards.

Amour of Love

For the Met Gala, Zendaya channeled Joan of Arc with this sensational dress and short bob.

Vegas Vibes

For CinemaCon 2018 in Las Vegas, the star wears red on red with white pumps and it's amazing.

Brown Beauty

The Greatest Showman star wears a brown mini dress with a balloon-like skirt and can't-miss gold earrings.

Dark Beauty

This is the anti-princess' perfect ball gown. The black is elegant while the red skirt is mercurial. 

Girl on Fire

The way the light touches the actress' gold lamé trench almost looks like foil on fire. 

That's a Wrap

The Greatest Showman actress was literally all wrapped up when her promoting her latest flick on Live With Kelly and Ryan. Everything from the pinstripe blouse to the dual-tone skirt complemented her body. 

Sequinned Star

Zendaya's shimmering Vivetta suit is a total show-stopper. We can't look away.

PJ Party

How cool does she look in this pajama-inspired Ashish ensemble and Le Silla heels? This is how you do comfy on a red carpet.

Culotte Cutie

How do you make a high-fashion look remotely casual? This is it. The star threw a plain white tee into the mix with culottes, heels and a gorgeous Gucci bag.

Bold & Beautiful

The actress wore bright hues to the Barcelona premiere of Spider-Man: Homecoming—looking like a true style star. Pairing emerald trousers with a red, white and sheer sweater and white pumps takes serious skill and confidence to pull off...all of which she has, ten fold.

White Hot

In a short visit to Paris Haute Couture Fashion Week the actress went all white in this Ralph and Russo dress and Le Silla pumps.

Embellished Elegance

Zendaya steps out in Paris in an elegant white, embellished gown by Ralph and Russo.

Tropical Princess

The singer shut down the MET Gala with this daring tropical inspired number by Dolce and Gabbana. 

Flower Power

In a Reem Acra white, floral sleeved dress and Giuseppe Zanotti sandals the actress attends the 2016 Glamour Women of the Year Awards as an honoree.

Green With Envy

Zendaya bares her back in this gorgeous light green gown by Zuhair Murado paired with bronze Le Silla heels.

View More Photos From Zendaya's Best Looks
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