In The Greatest Showman, Zendaya plays a young trapeze artist who falls in love with Zac Efron's determined impresario. Their love defies the odds — and gravity. Their intimate, acrobatic musical number, the Pasek and Paul-penned "Rewrite the Stars," is a real showstopper in the film, but the road to getting there was a little rough and involved a few bumps and bruises.
Surprise: Swinging in the air and making it look graceful is not easy!
During an appearance on The Tonight Show, Zendaya told host Jimmy Fallon that Efron "was such a great partner." After all, they had to "trust each other," because "he had to hold my weight and I had to hold him. It was a great icebreaker, you know what I'm saying?"
According to Zendaya, the actors filmed the high-flying scene using two ropes — and no harnesses — for support. At one point the choreography required them to swing apart and then come back together... mid-air. "We're supposed to grab onto each other with the other arm and get in this swing, which is in all the posters and it's beautiful — and that's great," she said. "But... if you don't catch each other, [you'll collide]."
And collide they did. Multiple times. Thanks to a bit of movie magic, none of those takes made the dreamy final cut, which looked like this:
But all of that hard work and practice did catch the eye of star Hugh Jackman.
"Right as I was going to go up in the cherry picker, Hugh Jackman walked by and he goes, 'Zendaya, you're a badass,'" she said. "I was like, '...Take me up! Hugh Jackman called me a badass!'"
The Greatest Showman hits theaters December 20, 2017.