Battle of the Sexes is the new film from directing duo Valerie Faris and Jonathan Dayton, the pair behind Little Miss Sunshine,loosely based on the historic 1973 tennis match between top women’s player Billie Jean King and self-confessed “chauvinist pig”, Bobby Riggs. While ostensibly a sports movie, Faris and Dayton’s interpretation explores the human element of the story while maintaining drama and tension to keep you hooked until the end, even if you are familiar enough with sports history to know how it will finish. Particularly pulled under the spotlight is Billie Jean and Bobby Rigg’s private life in the lead up to the match, including King’s struggle with her repressed sexuality, and the issues of equality that still ring true today. Emma Stone, despite her previous accolades, gives the performance of a lifetime as Billie Jean King, fully inhabiting the role through vigorous preparation including a detailed study of her gait, training to better resemble the figure of an athlete and carefully researching every aspect of the woman she was was to portray. Steve Carell also has a lot of fun with Bobby Riggs, who in reality is no chauvinist but a man looking for headlines late into his life. From the impeccably realised 70s aesthetic and tennis games, through to the performances from the lead cast, Battle of the Sexes is both an engrossing and inspirational watch
We were ready on the red carpet to meet Emma Stone on the night of the BFI London Film Festival premiere. She spoke passionately about her dedication to the role, the intense preparation she undertook, as well as the importance of the overall message of the story regarding equality that resonates strongly today.
Andrea Riseborough, who plays Billie Jean’s hairdresser-turned-lover in an exceptional role opposite Stone, also spoke with us about the experience of being involved with such a brilliant film and the messages the film could have for the current day.
The producers were also keen to share with us the joy of bringing this incredible story to the screen and working with such a fantastic cast.
We also had the privilege of speaking with Billie Jean King herself who was honoured to have her story recreated by such a stellar cast and hoped her tale would inspire the next generation to fight for equality and freedom.
By Sarah Bradbury. First published on The Upcoming on 7th October 2017.
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Battle of the Sexes is released nationwide on 24th November 2017.
For further information about the event visit the official BFI website here.