After lengthy negotiations, Emma Stone is officially set to play tennis star Billie Jean King in an upcoming dramatization of 1973’s infamous “Battle of the Sexes” tennis match.
The showdown took place just as feminism’s second wave, then known was women’s liberation, was cresting, adding serious symbolic value to an already major confrontation between King and her much older opponent, Bobby Riggs. (There’s a wonderful Nora Ephron column about the Battle from her Esquire days; unfortunately, it’s not on the Internet, but you can/should find it in anthologies like this one! Riggs does not come off well.)
The film, also called Battle of the Sexes—when you’ve got a marquee-ready name like that, why let it go to waste?—will co-star Steve Carell as Riggs; Little Miss Sunshine‘s Jonathan Dayton and Valerie Faris will co-direct, with Danny Boyle earning a production credit. The cast and directors suggest Battle might go in a more comic direction, as befits a 55-year-old former champion confidently challenging a current one (King was second-ranked in the world at the time) because she’s a lady.
Spoiler: he lost! And in an unspecified amount of time, we’ll see a fictionalized version of him do it on the big screen.