Mike Faist is a big part of the drama on and off the tennis court in Challengers.
He turned heads as Art alongside Zendaya (who plays Tashi) and Josh O'Connor (Patrick) in the teaser trailer for Luca Guadagnino's forthcoming sports rom-com, which features a steamy and contentious love triangle at its core. Judging from the fanfare, we have a feeling this one's going to be a grand slam.
We'll admit, anytime the Euphoria star enters the equation, our ears immediately perk up, but Faist is definitely making a name for himself in the industry. Who is the star, what has he done before Challengers and is he dating anyone at the moment? We have all the deets.
Who is Mike Faist? Get to know the 'Challengers' star
A serious force in the theater world, Mike Faist was once a young boy from Ohio dreaming of a career in acting after his adoptive parents, Julia and Kurt Faist, exposed him to the likes of Gene Kelly and Fred Astaire. He made his way to New York at 17 but dropped out of the American Musical and Dramatic Academy and began selling Off-Broadway tickets.
Eventually, he made his way to the stage and screen and earned a Tony Award nomination in the process. He is best known for starring in Steven Spielberg's 2021 remake of West Side Story, where he plays Riff, though his sights were set on another famous character.
"Originally they asked if I could put a tape together for Tony. I sang “Maria” and I read a scene or two," he told The New York Times. "Months later they called me in and said we’d like you to put together a tape for Riff. I got excited. But you can never invest too much. After reading for the part, there was just this energy and this realization that this shoe fits."
The role paved his way for future success and in hindsight, seems to be the starting point for the young actor.
"The fact that it is being received well, it’s affirming because we really attacked this material and this story from a place of love and I think that people are seeing that. We just don’t feel crazy, I guess" he told IndieWire.
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Who is Mike Faist dating?
That steamy Challengers trailer, filled with plenty of love scenes with Zendaya, has folks wondering about Mike Faist's current relationship status.
And though we've been particularly attuned to everyone's romantic lives as of late—Jacob Elordi's girlfriend situation, Michael Cimino's dating history, Maya Jama's boyfriend sitch—Faist's romantic life is a little bit more difficult to pinpoint, as he keeps personal matters personal. He's not even on Instagram, which is just how he likes it.
Per his IndieWire interview, the actor said, "I do a self-preservation thing, because … I think I learned my lesson a long time ago doing Dear Evan Hansen of just not paying attention to any of those things. You [can] read into anything, but then at the end of the day, you have to go into the show that night and do it. A big part of what I do, or at least what I think works for me, is just protecting that head space and not paying attention to all of it, being just blindly ignorant to it all."
There have been rumors about his sexuality as well as rumors that he was tied to dancer Alexis Tilly Evans-Krueger, but nothing has been confirmed by the actor directly. At this point, everything is simply speculation until he decides to address it with his fanbase.
How old is Mike Faist?
Born on January 5, 1992, Mike is 31 years old. And if you're astrologically curious, that makes him a Capricorn.
Mike Faist movies and TV shows
No stranger to screens, Faist has appeared in a variety of movies and TV shows, from the long-running procedural Law and Order: SVU to 2018 horror-fantasy film Wildling, 2021's Prime Video teen drama Panic and the 2022 comedy Pinball: The Man Who Saved the Game, to name just a few.
What Broadway shows was Mike Faist in?
But while he's been a familiar face in TV and movies, Mike Faist is a powerhouse on the stage, having famously played Connor Murphy in Dear Evan Hansen—for which he was nominated for Best Actor in a Featured Role in a Musical and won a Daytime Emmy Award and a Grammy Award alongside the rest of the cast—and made his West End Theatre debut in 2023 by taking on the role of Jack Twist in Brokeback Mountain.
He credits his stint in Newsies as his pathway to dancing, but even still it wasn't enough to prepare for his West Side Story role.
"The only dance show that I’d really done in New York was Newsies," he told The Times. "For the most part, really, I just pushed around sets. I danced as a kid and I like dancing at weddings, that’s fun. But I wouldn’t say that I speak the language."
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Did Mike Faist dance in 'West Side Story'?
Despite expertly crafting Riff, Faist had his reservations about being involved in the film because of the dancing—can you imagine?!
He told The New York Times: "Casting wanted me to submit a tape and then another tape and then come into the room and dance. I didn’t really want to. I do remember asking specifically, “Do I have to dance?” And they said, “This is West Side Story.”
Guess it's safe to say it's a good thing he decided to break out his moves!
Catch Mike Faist next onscreen in Challengers. Note that the original release date of Friday, September 15, 2023, has been pushed back to Friday, April 26, 2024, due to the ongoing SAG-AFTRA actors strike.
Need a TV show recommendation? Maybe a few decor tips? Danielle, a digital news writer at Future, has you covered. Her work appears throughout the company’s lifestyle brands, including My Imperfect Life, Real Homes, and woman&home. Mainly, her time is spent at My Imperfect Life, where she’s attuned to the latest entertainment trends and dating advice for Gen Z.
Before her time at Future, Danielle was the editor of Time Out New York Kids, where she got to experience the best of the city from the point of view of its littlest residents. Before that, she was a news editor at Elite Daily. Her work has also appeared in Domino, Chowhound, and amNewYork, to name a few.
When Danielle’s not writing, you can find her testing out a new recipe, reading a book (suggestions always welcome), or rearranging the furniture in her apartment…again.
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