Emma Stone To Play Billie Jean King in 'Battle Of The Sexes' & We Hope They Get It Right
Someone get me that Saved By The Bell gif where Jessie is so excited and so scared, because there's gonna be a Billie Jean King movie (possibly three different ones!). On Monday, Deadline reported that Emma Stone will play Billie Jean King to Steve Carell's Bobby Riggs in FOX Searchlight's Battle of the Sexes. "Battle Of The Sexes" was the name given to the legendary tennis match between Billie Jean King, then only 29, and Bobby Riggs, 55, in 1973, which King won. She later became a powerful feminist activist. Naturally her life will make a great story, but will Battle Of The Sexes get it right?
On paper, it seems pretty perfect. We've always known that Steve Carrell is a great dramatic actor, which we first saw in Little Miss Sunshine and more recently (and more freakily) in Foxcatcher. So it's serendipitious that the project will be directed by husband and wife partners Valerie Faris and Jonathan Dayton, who made their directorial debut with Little Miss Sunshine. Danny Boyle is producing, which gives the film definite hype, and and the screenplay is written by Simon Beaufoy, who wrote Slumdog Millionaire (also directed by Boyle).
And the story really tells itself. The "Battle Of The Sexes" match was sexy and powerful: Billie Jean King rode in carried like Cleopatra, and defeated Riggs by playing to his style. It's hard to argue that Emma Stone isn't a good choice. The girl we loved from Superbad was just nominated for an Oscar for her supporting role in Birdman, so she's definitely on the up and up. And, I mean, Steve Carrell.
So it's got all the ingredients — but I've got a little bit of trepidation that this is one of three Billie Jean King projects in the works right now. The Wrap reports: "HBO has Elizabeth Banks and Paul Giamatti starring in an original movie, while Will Ferrell is attached to play Riggs in Match Maker which his company Gary Sanchez is producing with Chernin Entertainment." It's delicate, because the "Battle Of The Sexes" was very literally a victory for women in athletics, prompting King to start advocating for equality in tennis and founding the Women's Sports Foundation in 1974. But Battle Of The Sexes will inevitably have to delve into King's rich personal life that earned her the honor of being named one of the most influential Americans of the 20th century by Life in 1990, and the FIRST female athlete to be awarded the Presidential Medal Of Freedom by Barack Obama.
And then there's King's highly publicized coming out, making her the first professional women's athlete to do so. The film, in short, has A LOT to do right and therefore, a lot that it could get wrong. Even though it's no doubt that Emma Stone will look great in a short wig and big glasses, it's still possible that she might not capture King's spirit who has been a strong presence in the public eye since she was in her twenties. But, thankfully for Battle Of The Sexes, King herself is cooperating with the project and working with Beaufoy to write the script. And, of course, with a female director, we have a little more reason to have faith in a story about a woman that paved a new path for women in tennis. Sometimes heroes are hard to translate to the screen!
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