If you loved the movie “The Greatest Showman,” the musical about the life of P.T. Barnum, you are certainly not alone.
The movie, with its grand score and dazzling stunts, actually had one of poorest box office showings initially, but thankfully gained momentum and became one of the most beloved (and popular-the film grabbed the number one spot in the UK for an entire year) films to date.
Hugh Jackman stars as ambitious showman P. T. Barnum in The Greatest Showman, a 2017 American musical drama film directed by Michael Gracey
Of course, one of the biggest draws to this amazing movie was the chemistry between the two most enchanting characters, played by Zac Efron and Zendaya, and their incredible aerobic performance on the trapeze.
Although they were never connected romantically in real life, on-screen they portrayed a connection that was palpable to the audience invoking feelings of great love and friendship.
And what about those daring stunts? Watching them perform on the trapeze and ropes was mesmerizing, and the grace and athleticism displayed would have to be done by professionals and not the amateurs, right?
Zendaya portrays acrobat and trapeze artist Anne Wheeler
Watching the movie, you might think that Zendaya and Zefron were duplicitously replaced with acrobats who swing from the ropes for a living, but when you learn the truth, you might be surprised!
Zefron and Zendaya did indeed actually perform that magical routine set to one of the most beautiful movie songs of all time- “Rewrite the Stars.”
Training for the scene, both Zefron and Zendaya worked very hard to learn everything they could about the aerobic art of trapeze but learning the routine on the ground and performing it in the air proved to be an entirely different experience.
Zac Efron as Phillip Carlyle falls in love with African American trapeze artist Anne Wheeler
From the movie’s inception, it was director Michael Gracey’s intention to not use stunt doubles so that meant rigorous training for Zendaya and Zefron. The stunts performed on the trapeze require tremendous upper body strength, flexibility, and of course, nerves of steel.
Gracey expressed the desire to have the actors train as though they were performing on Broadway, which involves much more physical training than that of a movie, so he advised Zendaya and Zefron to start working out well in advance of filming.
Zendaya learned trapeze and other circus skills for her role in The Greatest Showman
Zendaya and Zac began practicing with their feet on the ground, learning the choreographed steps before being lifted in the air for their dynamic performance.
Zendaya practiced on a “rig” (the aerial equipment used to suspend) with a safety net, but when she arrived on the actual movie set the equipment was a reported 15 to 20ft higher and to her surprise, did not have a safety net-in that time period when the characters would have been performing for the audience the actual circus did not have them.
Zendaya heading to the movie set ‘The Greatest Showman’ on an exceptionally cold day in New York on December 15, 2016
Zendaya was at first a bit hesitant to get started upon seeing the new, higher rig, but after some encouragement from co-star Hugh Jackman, she went forth with confidence in both her ability and training.
The actress was hooked up to a series of ropes and pullies, so she was safe, but just the thought of performing the complicated stunts while looking down at the floor was enough to get the actress rattled.
The revelation that she and Efron would be doing their own stunts, without a net, that normally required years of instruction and practice, however only served as motivation to get it right.
Zendaya and Zac Efron spent months learning how to trapeze for The Greatest Showman
Moving past that initial scare of the net free set, coupled with the sheer height of the rig, Zefron and Zendaya’s first attempts at their aerial masterpiece was anything but flawless.
The two were at first harnessed together so that they could become familiar with each other’s body weight and movements as well to build trust-the biggest factor in being able to film the scene and make it as believable as possible.
Performing together on the ropes was exhilarating but unpredictable. As much they could perfect and practice together on the ground, there was no way to duplicate that choreography exactly while suspended. They had to rely not only on the training but instinct.
Oftentimes throughout the complicated routine, it was Zendaya who would direct Zefron when things weren’t going according to plan. If a stunt or move wasn’t “flowing,” Zendaya would suggest an alternative move that often ended up remaining as a part of the act.
Zendaya undertaking trapeze training for The Greatest Showman
There were many times throughout the scene when practicing, Zefron and Zendaya would bump into each other again and again until they eventually worked it out and made it happen. It was through these trials and errors that the elaborate number seen in the movie was perfected.
One of most acrobatic scenes was filmed with the actor and actress suspended only by two ropes, swinging back and forth and eventually coming together in an arm embrace, a stunt that took more than a few attempts and resulted in numerous body slams. When they finally got it right, it became the inspiration for one of the movie’s famous posters.
Is Zendaya singing in The Greatest Showman?
The Greatest Showman is indeed one of the greatest stories ever told with an award-winning soundtrack to back up the cinematic wonder that is still loved and enjoyed by both the young and old today. The actors behind this movie actually sang on the original soundtrack.
Zac Efron and Zendaya singing “Rewrite the Stars” for the film The Greatest Showman (2017)
A big part of that magic contained in the film is the combustible energy and tremendous talent by Zefron and Zendaya who showed the audience through their performance that being the “greatest” is all about-persistence, grace, and the incredible ability to create something wonderful out of pure determination to give the viewers something awesome to savor long after the movie ends.
In December 2017, Zendaya stopped by The Tonight Show Starring Jimmy Fallon and shared one of their many bloopers from filming.
“We’re holding these two ropes and we’re together and then we swing apart from each other, they lift us off the ground, and of course that momentum of us swinging as far as we can go away from each other — we come back together and we’re supposed to grab on to each other with the other arm and we’re supposed to begin this swing… that’s really beautiful,” Zendaya said, describing the demanding physical aspects of the stunt.
“But if you don’t catch each other —,” she added before clapping her hands together.
After making the rounds through the London media circuit, in December 2017 Zendaya continued the press tour for “The Greatest Showman” in New York City.
She joined Hugh Jackman, Zac Efron, and the rest of the cast at the premiere of the film and in a lighting ceremony atop the Empire State Building.
Of course, Zendaya’s style game was on point and her styling was impeccable as she effortlessly switched between two different looks.
1. Edgy Glam in Viktor & Rolf Spring 2018 gown
The cast of “The Greatest Showman” was aboard the Queen Mary 2 at the Brooklyn Cruise Terminal for the film’s world premiere.
Zendaya had her own princess moment as she stepped out in a beautiful Spring 20018 Viktor & Rolf ball gown that featured a draped strapless bodice and dramatic asymmetrical cuts.
Zendaya at the world premiere of “The Greatest Showman” aboard the Queen Mary 2 at the Brooklyn Cruise Terminal in New York City on December 8, 2017
She shared a post on Instagram that showed her descending the stairs in her romantic two-tone tulle number.
An edgy bob and jewelry from Tiffany & Co. finished off her red carpet look.
2. Sophisticated in Ralph Lauren coat, Martin Grant Spring 2018 skirt, and Giuseppe Zanotti “Yvette” boots
(L-R) Michael Gracey, Rebecca Ferguson, Keala Settle, Zendaya, Zac Efron, and Hugh Jackman
Zendaya braved the cold for her lighting ceremony atop the Empire State Building in a stylish ensemble as she posed with her co-stars for photographs during the event.
The cast of “The Greatest Showman” during a lighting ceremony atop the Empire State Building in New York City on December 9, 2017
The then 21-year-old star looked utterly chic in a black Ralph Lauren Fall 2017 double-breasted coat worn over a crisp white button-down shirt and a green Martin Grant Spring 2018 skirt.
Zendaya with Zac Efron perform many of their own trapeze stunts in The Greatest Showman
Zendaya with Zac Efron during a lighting ceremony atop the Empire State Building in New York City on December 9, 2017.
Zendaya styled her black Ralph Lauren double-breasted coat with a green Martin Grant skirt
Giuseppe Zanotti “Yvette” Over-the-Knee Boots
Credit: Dennis Van Tine / Future Image / WENN