Zendaya Really Likes Playing "Unlikable" Characters That She Can Convince Viewers To Empathize With, And Honestly, That's Exactly What She's Done With Some Of Her Roles

Zendaya opened up about the types of roles she's looking forward to playing and explained why she's drawn to more "complicated" characters.

Zendaya in a white dress with green leaf patterns, standing outside with onlookers behind her
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From playing a recovering person addicted to drugs in Rue Bennett on Euphoria to portraying a woman in a relationship with a man who profited off her past trauma as Marie in Malcolm & Marie, Zendaya has proven time and time again that she can breathe life into complex characters, ultimately changing the way you view them.

Screenshot from "Malcolm & Marie"

During a recent interview with IMDb, Zendaya revealed she wants to pursue more roles that allow the audience to change their perspective and empathize with the character.

Zendaya in a bright blouse, resting chin on hand, smiling during an event
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"[I want to play characters] who are complicated," Zendaya said. "I think I enjoy playing characters that maybe sometimes on paper do things that would consider them unlikable, unlovable, or irredeemable."

Closeup of Zendaya
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"And that being my job to make people empathize with them and care about them, I think that’s one of my greatest hopes."

Zendaya stands poised in a theater wearing a hooded white dress and adorned with elegant wrist jewelry
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The Challengers star added that that's one of the reasons she enjoys playing Rue so much: It gives viewers an opportunity to feel for a character who doesn't always make the best choices.

GIF of Rue Bennett, played by Zendaya, in "Euphoria"

"It’s like I always want people to empathize and love her and care about her, despite the decisions that she makes and the people that she hurts along the way, and remember that she's human and she's hurting, too."

Zendaya smiles in an elegant lace-detailed outfit at an event
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"And I think that just becomes, like, your job as an actor is just to make them as lovable as you can, no matter what harm they cause themselves or others. So, I don’t know. That just became my challenge. And I like that part of what we do."

GIF of people dancing in "Euphoria"

Well, fans are in for a wild ride as she tackles her latest role — a highly sought-after tennis prospect, Tashi Duncan, in Challengers.

Screenshot from "Challengers"
MGM /Courtesy Everett Collection

To catch Zendaya in all her glory, be sure to check out Challengers, which is playing in theaters now. This role is like no other one she's been in before, but believe me, she and her costars Josh O'Connor and Mike Faist don't disappoint.

Mike Faist, Zendaya, and Josh O'Connor
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And to learn more about the Challengers cast, watch their full IMDb interview below: