The article contains some spoilers for Challengers.


  • The three-way kissing scene in
    was not initially in the script, but was added to explore the love triangle dynamics.
  • Luca Guadagnino explains that the scene reveals feelings between Art and Patrick beyond their shared attraction to Tashi.
  • The movie subtly hints at the attraction between Art and Patrick, leaving viewers to interpret the complex relationships in

Challengers director Luca Guadagnino breaks down the infamous three-way kissing scene between Tashi Duncan (Zendaya), Art Donaldson (Mike Faist), and Patrick Zewig (Josh O’Connor). The romantic sports drama follows the story of three professional tennis players who become entangled in a messy love triangle. Before the film was released, its poster and trailer teased the three-way kissing scene and garnered quite a bit of attention. Although the scene sparked many jokes and memes, it actually proved to be one of the most significant scenes in the movie.

In an interview with Entertainment Weekly, Guadagnino explained the true meaning of the three-way kissing scene in Challengers. The scene wasn’t initially part of the script but became necessary to truly “flesh out” the nature of the love triangle. Guadagnino wanted to explore the idea that “all corners” of the love triangle touch, meaning the boys were jealous to not be picked by Tashi, but also to not be picked by each other. Hence, the scene is important in exploring the attraction between Art and Patrick, which Tashi immediately picks up. Check out Guadagnino’s statement below:

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.

The idea [is] that Tashi can see what they don’t want to see or they cannot see, which is this incredible attraction that they have not only for her but also for one another. And so Justin [Kuritzkes] made the very funny scene, wrote beautiful dialogue, and I thought that the mundanity of this hotel room in Queens was quite touching in portraying youth.

For me, it was all about staying there, staying with them, staying with the jokes, staying with the moment of embarrassment, followed by the moment of excitement, and eventually to show the geometry the movie sets up in that moment, the power that she had over them.

Are Patrick & Art In Love In Challengers?

In breaking down the three-way kissing scene, Guadagnino seems to confirm one hinted detail in Challengers, which is that Patrick and Art have feelings for each other in addition to Tashi. Most viewers likely expected it to be a straightforward, typical love triangle, similar to Twilight or The Summer I Turned Pretty, in which two boys fall in love with the same woman. However, the movie both subtly and not-so-subtly teases that there are multiple layers of the triangle as all the Challengers characters involved seem to love each other.


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The romantic sports movie only has one scene in which the attraction between Patrick and Art is explicitly shown. During the three-way kissing scene, Patrick and Art share a passionate kiss. Aside from the kiss, neither ever voices their potential attraction to the other, as all their efforts turn to winning over Tashi. However, Guadagnino is a master of subtext, and there are countless subtle teases of Patrick and Art’s attraction sprinkled throughout the movie. From the onset, the pair appear to have an unusually close relationship and are perfectly at ease with one another.

The movie also includes some sexual innuendo, such as how Art and Patrick tend to speak just inches from each other’s faces or how they lock eyes while sharing a churro. There are several electric moments between them when they’re in the sauna or on the court. As this carries into Challengers ending, the dynamic between Art and Patrick can best be described as sexual tension. While there does seem to be some feelings between Art and Patrick, it is captured as ambiguously as Tashi’s feelings for the two men in Challengers, ultimately leaving it to viewers to interpret who loves who.

Source: Entertainment Weekly

Challengers Poster


Challengers is a romantic sports comedy film by director Luca Guadagnino. The film stars Zendaya as a retired Tennis legend who, while trying to coach her husband and lead him to victory in an upcoming Tennis match, discovers his coming opponent is her ex-lover.

Luca Guadagnino

Release Date
April 26, 2024

Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer , Pascal Pictures

Amazon MGM Studios

Justin Kuritzkes

Zendaya , Josh O’Connor , Mike Faist

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