The legendary tennis match “Battle of the Sexes” was a big victory for female athletes. Now Fox Searchlight will be bringing that epic gender fight to the screen, with Emma Stone playing Billie Jean King and Steve Carell as Bobby Riggs.
In a surprise announcement, Fox Searchlight has scheduled the movie to begin shooting this fall, with husband and wife team Jonathan Dayton and Valerie Faris set to direct. Simon Beaufoy of Slumdog Millionaire wrote the script and it will be produced by Danny Boyle and Christian Coulson.
The film is expected to have a light, comedic touch reminiscent of Little Miss Sunshine but with gender and political themes that still rings through today, maybe even more so.
— MovieWeb (@MovieWeb) April 21, 2015
The “Battle of the Sexes” was a big moment in both Billie Jean King’s career and the feminist movement. The tennis great and activist initially turned down Rigg’s invitation but changed her mind when the retired tennis player started looking down on female athletes.
It was also one of the greatest tennis matches of all time, and garnered the highest TV ratings since Armstrong landed on the moon. The 29-year-old King’s victory over the much older Riggs was hailed by a New York Times editorial as doing “more for the cause of women than most feminists can achieve in a lifetime.”
But this is not the only retelling of the match that’s in the pipeline, although it’s expected to be the first one to start production.
A still untitled HBO project is also in the works. Elizabeth Banks will be portraying King to Paul Giamatti’s Riggs. Proof’s David Auburn will be writing the script and Tom Hanks and Gary Goetzman will be producing it.
There’s also The Match Maker which stars Will Farrell as Bobby Riggs. Based on the ESPN article by Don Van Natta Jr., the film revolves around the premise that Riggs had to lose the match because of his gambling debts.