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Zendaya is flying high in The Greatest Showman

Zendaya worked hard for new film and enjoyed great chemistry with fellow cast members

Zendaya, one of the most gifted performers of her generation, has already made a strong impression in Hollywood.

She continues to dazzle in The Greatest Showman, now showing in cinemas, playing Anne, a trapeze artist who joins P.T. Barnum's (Hugh Jackman) diverse circus and attracts the attention of her boss' handsome and charismatic business partner, Phillip Carlyle (Zac Efron).

Sparks fly between them, but there are complications as their relationship develops.

"Zendaya is going to be the world's biggest superstar," said director Michael Gracey.

"For someone so young, she has an amazing commitment to her work. I would ask her to do the craziest things.

"When she was swinging around the ring with a camera out in front of her, I would say, 'Just catch this hat and then throw it on this word of the song,' and she would smile and do it all so effortlessly."

Zendaya, 21, is starring and co-producing Disney Channel's hit spy comedy K. C. Undercover. Her first major film was Spider-Man: Homecoming, released earlier this year.

She talks about doing the trapeze work, being up in the air and her chemistry with Efron.

How did you land the role in The Greatest Showman?

I met Michael Gracey two years ago. Michael explained that he thought I would be right for the character of Anne.

He played me videos of Hugh singing some of the songs. Michael is the coolest person in the world and I fell in love with the idea of being a part of this film.

For the audition, I knew I would have to sing and I asked if it would be possible for me to have the songs I would be singing in the movie if I got the part, so I could record something and show them what I could do.

They said yes and I recorded my own version of (my song with Zac) Rewrite The Stars in my home studio in the garage. I sang my half of the duet.

Later, when I had my audition, I played the song for Michael and Zac and everything went really well. Next thing I knew, I was in the movie.

Can you discuss Anne's journey?

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.

Then her life changes when Phillip shows up and she starts to fall in love with him. But there are complications; she knows she cannot be with him because of the colour of her skin.

So they have what I call a "silent love story". Everything is done in glances and looks and you can see them secretly falling for each other, even though that is not supposed to happen.

Anne understands the dangers of the relationship more than Phillip does.

What was it like working with Zac Efron?

He was a great partner, which was important because there were moments when we were harnessed together up in the air and he had to hold my weight.

We did all kinds of crazy stuff in our number together and we quite literally had to hold each other up. It was great to have someone you can trust, and Zac was definitely that person for me.

You were fearless in your trapeze work. What was that like?

We rehearsed every number in the film - every detail - before we even began shooting because the director wanted to film everything almost as if we were doing a real Broadway show.

He wanted me to do as much of the trapeze work as possible myself, rather than using a stunt double, so I immediately started working out every day.

He also wanted to see a change in my arms, and I was trying to get buff (laughs). That was new for me because I do not usually work out, so I had to do it every single day. I also had to start trapeze training.

Was it very scary?

Of course. It was scary the first time I tried it.

It was also a little weird because I had been practicing on a specific rig that I was familiar with at a warehouse where I was working with my trapeze trainers, and I had a net. I was in my comfort zone there.

Then when I went to try out the real rig on the real set - it was 15 feet (4.6m) taller than the one I was used to and there was no net.

They were like, "Okay, we want you to try this out now." I was like, "Guys, this is insane!"

But then right before I went out to try it for the first time, Hugh said to me: "Zendaya, you are a badass," and that was all I needed - that encouragement from him.

I got started and I felt great, and I do not have that fear anymore. You just have to jump and go for it. Now it is nothing for me - I am not afraid of heights anymore.

My body went through a lot - bruises and soreness - but I did not even feel it when I was in the air.

What was it like working with Hugh Jackman?

He is amazing. He is seriously the coolest person ever and I feel really lucky to have worked with him. He was so supportive of the entire cast.

Not everyone is nice in this industry, so when you come across a person as lovely as Hugh, it is fantastic.

I am a big fan of Hugh and I had a dream about what I hoped he would be like if I were ever to meet him in real life.

Often people you admire do not live up to your expectations. But Hugh is one of those people who exceeds expectations.

Also, he is nice to everyone on the set, not just to the stars of the movie. He treats everyone in the same way - with kindness and respect.

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