Art and culture

‘Challengers’ Star Josh O’Connor Talks Sexually-Charged Churros

SPOILER ALERT: This article contains plot details for “Challengers,” now playing in theaters.

Josh O’Connor never had a churro until he shot “Challengers.”

The British actor and his co-star Mike Faist enjoy the fried doughy treat in one of the film’s most suggestive scenes. In short, Patrick (O’Connor) is visiting his girlfriend Tashi (Zendaya) and his best friend Art (Faist) at Stanford when the two young men catch up in a cafeteria. They’re sitting face-to-face as they devour the churros.

“We actually only did two takes of that scene,” O’Connor says at the drama’s Los Angeles premiere. “They were delicious. My first churro was that day.”

So why churros? As if that even needs to be asked. “Because they’re a delicious snack,” screenwriter Justin Kuritzkes says, while grinning. “They’re very popular in California – that’s why.”

Kuritzkes says O’Connor and Faist enhanced the sexually-charged scene with their own twists.

“They were always finding new physicality, new stuff, unspoken things,” he says, adding, “They’re always finding great, great moments, so I can’t take credit for all of it.”

The love-triangle tennis drama follows Tashi, a former tennis prodigy who dates Patrick during college but later marries and coaches Art. The couple’s relationship is tested when Patrick comes back into the couple’s life.

Earlier in the film, shortly after the three meet as teenagers, Patrick and Art kiss after each making out with Tashi. Are the two men queer? It’s unclear.

“What’s true about a love triangle is that every love triangle is, by its nature, queer,” Kuritzkes says, adding, “Whether you intend to be or not, you’re in an intimate relationship with two other people.”

O’Connor opines, “They’re all fluid. They all kind of love each other and they’re figuring that out. They’re trying to understand where that plays out and how it plays out, and so I don’t know if there’s a clear-cut answer to that, but I think that they’re all completely tied. They’re all in.”

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