At only 21 years old, Zendaya is an actor, multi-platinum recording star, fashion icon, entrepreneur, and philanthropist. And now, thanks to her turn in The Greatest Showman, she is also a professional musical theatre performer.
But Zendaya isn’t new to musical theatre. “I’ve been in love with musicals since I was a kid,” she tells Playbill in the video interview above at the press junket for the original movie musical.
She grew up doing community theatre and performed at California Shakespeare Theater as a child, where her mother also worked as a house manager. One of her first roles was in James and the Giant Peach, and—the actor laughed—she didn’t have any lines. At the Berkeley Playhouse she played Ti Moune in Once On This Island, and even played Joe in Caroline, or Change at Theaterworks in Palo Alto, California.
Now, Zendaya puts her multi-talents to work as Anne Wheeler, one-half of the brother-sister trapeze act in P.T. Barnum’s circus in the feature film that hit theatres December 20. And, her love story with co-star Zac Efron has audiences swooning.
As for bringing musical theatre to the big screen, Zendaya feels it’s the ideal medium.
“[There’s] something special about the blend between music, which already make us feel so many things—you can hear a song and cry like that or hear a chord and cry like that—so blending the idea of sonically music and visually a movie is a match made in heaven. It just makes you feel a little bit more.”
Watch the interview above, and listen to Zendaya and Efron talk about staging their big love duet, “Rewrite the Stars.”