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Write On: 'Challengers' Screenwriter Justin Kuritzkes

April 26, 2024
2 min read time

“Tennis is an amazing sport to think about a love triangle because it’s so deeply charged erotically," says Justin Kuritzkes, screenwriter for the new film Challengers, starring Zendaya. "Tennis is a game that’s so steeped in repression, but also in wild abandon. There’s all these rigid rules and prescriptions of movement and boxes that the ball has to fall into. It’s all so tightly organized and yet, once the ball is in play, physics takes over and it’s wild chaos. You see these two people responding to each other in an almost instinctual and subconscious way. So, it felt like there was a lot of energy in tennis that was exciting to me cinematically.”

In this episode of the Write On podcast, Justin talks about using tennis as a metaphor for relationships, the complicated choices his characters make, and the challenges going from playwright to screenwriter. 
“It’s really useful to have some knowledge of yourself as a dramatist or as a storyteller before you go into writing a screenplay because screenplays are so unforgiving. If you’ve already been working as a playwright or novelist, you’ve got an advantage there. The main thing I was focusing on writing Challengers was that I wanted to feel like I could see the movie on the page because it was a movie I really wanted to watch…You can’t tell if something is good as you’re writing it. You can’t tell if something is going to be a safe bet for anybody to make. All you can tell is if the movie is alive to you. If that’s true, there is a chance that the movie will be alive on the page for other people, to the point where they’ll want to make it with you,” he says. 

To hear more from Justin, listen to the podcast. 


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