HomeActorJosh O'Connor's Transition From Royalty in 'The Crown' to Romance in 'Challengers'

Josh O’Connor’s Transition From Royalty in ‘The Crown’ to Romance in ‘Challengers’

In Luca Guadagnino’s “Challengers,” the on-court drama in a qualifying tennis tournament in New Rochelle, NY, takes an unexpectedly steamy turn with the involvement of Zendaya, Josh O’Connor, and Mike Faist.

After being awarded for his best-known performance as the uptight Prince Charles in The Crown, O’Connor’s new movie could potentially shift his career in a new direction.


  • Josh O’Connor’s role in “Challengers” significantly changes from his previous acclaimed performance as Prince Charles in “The Crown.”
  • O’Connor’s portrayal of Patrick Zweig, described as somewhat of a “monster,” challenges him to make a character likable despite his flaws.
  • The casting of O’Connor in “Challengers” was driven by Zendaya’s referral.

The Crown actor plays one of the lead roles in Luca Guadagnino’s upcoming movie, which has people wondering what happened to Josh O’Connor in that drama.

Josh O’Connor plays the character of Patrick Zweig in the upcoming film ‘Challengers‘ directed by Luca Guadagnino.

In this steamy sports drama set in professional tennis, Patrick becomes entangled in a love triangle with Tashi and her husband, serving as one of the three main characters.

Josh O’Connor Calls His Challengers’ Character, Patrick Zweig a ‘Monster’

According to WSJ magazine, Josh O’Connor views his character Patrick in the film as somewhat of a “monster.”

This movie revolves around Tashi (Zendaya), a former college tennis star who finds herself torn between her three loves: her husband Art (Mike Faist), ex-Patrick (O’Connor), and the sport of tennis itself.

As Tashi’s interactions with Art and Patrick intersect over time, O’Connor describes his character Patrick as being a complete “dick” of a role.

Moreover, O’Connor, out of his core struggle to play Patrick, mentioned,

How do you make a character likable whilst being a monster? It’s the first time I think I’ve played a character who’s just like, ‘I’m fucking mad.’ Like, ‘I’m a dick and I’m proud.’

Moreover, he mentioned,

From British Royalty To American Bad Boy: Zendaya Handpicks Josh O’Connor for Challengers

Yes, you saw it right. Zendaya specifically chose Josh for the role, citing him as her top choice in discussions about potential co-stars.

“You know the guy from The Crown?” she said. “He’d be great for this.”

Also, considering a charming actor best known for portraying an embittered young Prince Charles in seasons of the Netflix series for the role of an American bad boy is quite unexpected.

Moreover, when O’Connor first read the script for the movie, he told the screenwriter that he didn’t feel suited for either of the male leads.

However, he recognized that appearing in a film directed by the Oscar-nominated Luca Guadagnino could significantly boost an actor’s career.

Even now, he still puzzles over why Zendaya, who possesses the influence to cast virtually anyone as her co-star, believed he was the perfect fit for the role in that movie.

“I still think it’s a reach,” O’Connor admits.

The review team at The Road To Peace Films found this movie captivating. It offers a mix of friendship, deceit, passion, infidelity, competitiveness, jealousy, and drama.

Art and Patrick, friends since childhood, navigate the ups and downs of their relationship through the junior tennis circuit, college, and into the professional ranks.

However, their dynamic shifts when the talented female tennis star Tashi enters the picture, sparking a rivalry for her affection.

The storyline feels authentic and relatable, making it engaging for sports enthusiasts and fans of romance.

While the ending may be somewhat predictable and drawn-out, overall, it’s a compelling movie worth watching.

Additional Information

  • Charles, Prince of Wales in ‘The Crown’ (2019-2020) – This portrayal earned Josh O’Connor a Primetime Emmy Award and a Golden Globe Award.
  • Josh had a recurring role as James Kent in the popular crime drama series Peaky Blinders (2013-2022).
  • O’Connor, a self-described “liberal left-winger,” actively supported the Labour Party and campaigned for Jeremy Corbyn during the 2019 general election.
Deepti Bhatta
Deepti Bhatta
Meet Deepti Bhatta, a passionate writer and content editor who brings a fresh perspective to Road To Peace Films. With her keen interest in entertainment industry, Deepti crafts articles that inform, inspire, and entertain readers, keeping them engaged and coming back for more.


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