Emma Stone & Steve Carell rally in ‘BATTLE OF THE SEXES’


Emma Stone and Steve Carell in BATTLE OF THE SEXES. Courtesy of Fox Searchlight.

Courtney Howard // Film Critic

The tennis match between Billy Jean King and Bobby Riggs is probably one of the most famous games in the sport, let alone sports history. It was the most watched televised sports event of all time – and it’s a wonder why it’s taken this long for the story to be told cinematically. However, good things come to those who wait as we’ll see a match up between two talented actors in their primes, Steve Carell (playing Riggs) and Emma Stone (playing King), as told by two masterful filmmakers, directors Jonathan Dayton and Valerie Faris (LITTLE MISS SUNSHINE, RUBY SPARKS), and one fantastic storyteller, screenwriter Simon Beaufoy (SLUMDOG MILLIONAIRE, THE FULL MONTY).

Rounding out the cast are stars Andrea Riseborough, Elisabeth Shue, Austin Stowell, and Sarah Silverman.

Here’s the official synopsis:

The electrifying 1973 tennis match between World number one Billie Jean King (Emma Stone) and ex-champ and serial hustler Bobby Riggs (Steve Carell) was billed as THE BATTLE OF THE SEXES and became one of the most watched televised sports events of all time.  The match caught the zeitgeist and sparked a global conversation on gender equality, spurring on the feminist movement.  Trapped in the media glare, King and Riggs were on opposite sides of a binary argument, but off-court each was fighting more personal and complex battles.  With a supportive husband urging her to fight the Establishment for equal pay, the fiercely private King was also struggling to come to terms with her own sexuality, while Riggs gambled his legacy and reputation in a bid to relive the glories of his past.  Together, Billie and Bobby served up a cultural spectacle that resonated far beyond the tennis courts and animated the discussions between men and women in bedrooms and boardrooms around the world.

It appears this film will be one for the books as well, considering the mega-watt talent backing up a rich tale in history. Faris and Dayton’s aesthetic will also add panache where Wikipedia leaves off. History will come alive again come September. Who will you be rooting for?

BATTLE OF THE SEXES opens on September 22.

About author

Courtney Howard

Courtney Howard is a LAFCA, CCA, OFCS and AWFJ member, as well as a Rotten Tomatometer-approved film critic. Her work has been published on Variety, She Knows and Awards Circuit.