Everything To Know About Challengers Actor Josh O’Connor

He turned to real life sports stars for on-court inspiration...

Josh O'Connor promoting Challengers

by Charlotte Roberts |
Updated on

Set to hit cinemas in a matter of weeks, Challengers has already created a buzz.

Directed by Luca Guadagnino (Call Me By Your Name), the film will tell the story of tennis player turned coach Tashi (Zendaya), as she finds herself in a love triangle with tennis players Art (Mike Faist) and Patrick (Josh O'Connor).

According to IMDb, Challengers 'follows three players who knew each other when they were teenagers as they compete in a tennis tournament to be the world-famous grand slam winner, and reignite old rivalries on and off the court.'

And while fans are excited to see the film, they're even more excited to see Josh O'Connor hit our screens once more.

Taking to X upon the film's announcement, one fan wrote 'I can't believe I'm really getting a sexy tennis movie with Zendaya, Mike Faist, and Josh O'Connor.' Another fan simply said, 'I wan't Zendaya's life.'

Here's everything to know about Challengers actor Josh O'Connor - including where he's from, what else you recognise him from, and whether he really plays tennis.

Who is Josh O'Connor?

Josh O’Connor is a British born actor, currently appearing as egocentric tennis player Patrick in Challengers, alongside Zendaya and Mike Faist.

Opening up about finding his inspiration for the role, Josh told GQ how he turned to real life sports pros for research. Naturally, one of them was Aussie tennis pro Nick Kyrgois, who controversially earned a reputation for yelling at the crowd and making NSFW gestures...

©Warner Bros

And as the film gets ready to land in cinemas, one question fans have already found themselves asking is whether Josh actually plays tennis.

The answer? Of course.

Along with co-stars Zendaya and Mike, Josh prepped for the role by spending two to three hours a day playing tennis, followed by two hours in the gym, six days a week. Addressing Josh's impressive transformation, his co-star Mike shared, ‘I watched this guy [Josh] probably put on close to 10lb over the course of the weeks we were working. He physically transformed. He’s a craftsman, and knew exactly what was required of him in the moment.’

How old is Josh O'Connor?

Born on the 20 May 1990, Josh is currently 33 years old (and a down-to-earth and reliable Taurus.)

The actor recently opened up about turning 30, revealing how celebrating his birthday during the 2020 lockdown led to some self-realisation. ‘I don’t actually like clubbing,’ he shared, ‘or hanging out in groups, or pretending to be cool. Overnight I decided I don’t have to like it. If I’m 30, I can admit that I like one-to-one dynamics, staying in, and reading.’

Where is Josh O'Connor from?

Originally born in Southampton, Josh moved to Cheltenham, Gloucestershire, when he was five years old. He was the second of three children born to John, a teacher, and Emily, a midwife. His older brother currently works as an artist, and his younger brother Seb is an ecological economist and PhD researcher.

After moving away from his family, Josh lived in Shoreditch, London, before briefly relocating to New York for a ‘spell with a former partner.’ In 2023, Josh made the move back to his native Gloucestershire, now living in a village near Stroud.

Although a well-established actor, life wasn't always so easy for Josh. In the past, the star has been candid about being diagnosed with dyslexia.

Explaining that it was his drama teacher who helped him find his calling in school, he told The Independent, ‘Before, I would go to an English class and read Shakespeare and find it infuriating. Now, suddenly dyslexic Josh could read Romeo and Juliet and, while not necessarily understanding every work, I could visualise the theatrical magic. I became obsessed.’ After finishing secondary school, Josh later went on to train at Bristol Old Vic Theatre School.

What else has Josh O'Connor been in?

Challengers likely isn’t the first time you’ve laid eyes on Josh.

The actor has starred as Larry Durrell in four seasons of the series The Durrells in Corfu, as well as appeared in episodes of Doctor Who and Law and Order: UK. He also previously starred as James in the hit TV series Peaky Blinders, as well as the 2019 series Les Miserables.


In 2017, Josh starred in God’s Own Country as Johnny Saxby, a young sheep farmer whose life is changed by a Romanian worker (Alec Secareanu). And if you thought Josh’s farming skills were simply for show, think again. During the course of filming, the actor revealed that he delivered around 150 lambs, saying, ‘We’d be doing a scene, and then they’d call "cut" and a van would come in. The real farmer, John, could say "Josh, we’ve got a lamb to come out."'

While filming adventure-comedy La Chimera in Italy last year, Josh made the choice to live in Winnie: his refurbished yellow DHL delivery van. Opening up to GQ about van life, he said ‘I got the van to get out of London and be away from it all.’

Who was Josh O'Connor in The Crown?

Josh appeared as Prince Charles in The Crown, reuniting with his Les Miserables co-star Olivia Colman. After a two-season stint as the young Prince Charles, the role saw the actor rocket to superstardom after landing himself a number of awards – including an Emmy and a Golden Globe.

Josh O'Connor as Charles in The Crown

Accepting his Emmy award, Josh described the series as the ‘most rewarding two years of my life.’

But while the show was a hit, Josh wasn’t always so keen on playing the part. The actor initially had no interest in auditioning for the role of Prince Charles, telling The Guardian, ‘I think a bit of me felt that, beyond Prince Charles being a very rich and posh man, what’s the get-in? Where’s the juice to him? Where’s the stuff?’

Is Josh O'Connor single?

Although Josh remains pretty private when it comes to his personal life, there have been rumours regarding potential partners.

In 2019, it was said that Josh was dating Margot Hauer-King, an account director at a marketing startup. Margot (whose brother is actor Jonah Hauer-King) and Josh reportedly had a low-profile relationship, sometimes posting glimpses of each other on their social media.

It's said Josh and Margot have since split, although neither party have confirmed nor denied the news.

Josh was also previously linked to his The Crown co-star Emma Corrin, who portrayed Lady Diana Spencer. Neither party confirmed nor denied the romance, with Emma now said to be dating Bohemian Rhapsody’s Rami Malek.


What is Josh O'Connor's net worth?

It’s not known exactly what Josh’s net worth is, but it’s estimated online that his various projects have left him with a net worth of around £1.6 million.

Does Josh O'Connor have Instagram?

He does! You can keep up to date with him @joshographee, where he posts some snippets of his projects, but mainly some lovely photography!

Where can I watch Challengers?

Challengers is set to land in cinemas across the UK on 26 April, 2024. It was originally due to be released last summer, however was pushed back due to the Hollywood SAG-AFTRA strikes.

Until then, you can watch the trailer online. This is a PSA: you will hear the sound of breaking bones...

Charlotte Roberts is a News and Entertainment Writer for Grazia, writing interviews and features around everything pop culture.

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