Cosmo RADAR A pop culture sampler to start the year right.
Zendaya spins her struggles into gold as a trapeze artist in The Greatestshowman, an exciting new musical that celebrates the birth of show business.
tell us about your character, anne wheeler.
When we meet Anne, she knows how her life is going to progress and she just wants to do her job as a trapeze artist. being in the air is her passion. Her life changes when Phillip (Zac Efron) shows up and she starts to fall in love with him. but there are complications—she knows she can’t be with him because of the color of her skin. So they have what I call a “silent love story.” They’re not supposed to talk to each other, touch each other, or be seen with each other… Anne understands the dangers of the relationship more than Phillip does.
in what ways can you relate to the character?
The circus is the one place where Anne can forget about her struggles… In many ways that’s how I feel about what I do—whenever I’m performing, I can escape from everything that stresses me out. Performing is where I can just be me.
what was it like doing your own trapeze stunt work?
I had been practicing on a specific rig that had a net, but when I went to set, the real rig was 15 feet taller and there was no net! I was like, “Guys, this is insane!” but right before I went to try it, Hugh Jackman (who plays legendary circus founder P.T. barnum) told me, “Zendaya, you’re a badass,” and that’s all I needed—that encouragement from him. Now I’m not afraid of heights anymore. I got bruised and sore all over, but I didn’t even feel it when I was in the air!
what was it like working with zac efron?
We did all kinds of crazy stuff together in the air, and we quite literally had to hold each other up. It’s great to have a partner in crime you can trust, and Zac was definitely that person for me.
in what way do you Hope the movie will make an impact on today’s audience?
The film uses the circus as a way to explore deeper truths about people. The oddities in P.T. barnum’s circus have been seen as “different” all their lives—they’ve never felt like they are good enough. The film shows that there is a place for everyone, and that you should never hide who you are. be who you are fearlessly!