There have been a number of great films of late that have taken us back to an interesting point in history and packaged it up in impressive style. The latest entry is The Battle Of The Sexes, which focuses on the 1973 tennis match between six time women’s Wimbledon Champion Billie Jean King and former men’s No. 1 Bobby Riggs. It follows in the footsteps of Rush, Frost/Nixon and The Damned United, but with more of a comedy drama slant on cinematic biography, and with Borg/McEnroe also out this year it’s not the only tennis history look-back we’ll see on the big screen in 2017.
Emma Stone (La La Land) will be taking on the role as Billy Jean King and she’ll be joined by Steve Carell (Despicable Me 3) as Bobby Riggs, picking up from their last onscreen appearance together in Crazy Stupid Love. This time they’ll be directed by the husband and wife duet that is Jonathan Dayton and Valerie Farris, who worked with Carrell back in on Little Miss Sunshine.
The Battle Of The Sexes has been slated for a release date in the US of the 22nd September 2017, so it’ll be out in the UK around the same time. It’ll be a month after the release of Borg/McEnroe in the UK, and around the same time as the 2017 US Open, so it’s going to be a tennis-heavy month.
Essentially, this is exactly what it says on the tin. Women’s tennis ace Billie Jean King (Stone) challenges veteran former men’s #1 Bobby Riggs (Carell) to a tennis match with the kind of build-up, pomp and media attention that you’d expect from a heavyweight boxing grudge match. It’s 1973 and the opponents are about to embark in a sporting event that would go on to capture the attention of the world.
However, they were also dealing with off-court issues of their own with King’s sexuality dominating her personal life, and Riggs’ former glory becoming a major fixation.
Emma Stone and Steve Carell will have support from Andrea Riseborough (Mindhorn), Sarah Silverman (A Million Ways To Die In The West) and Bill Pullman (Independence Day: Resurgence). The Battle Of The Sexes cast also includes Alan Cumming, Elisabeth Shue, Austin Stowell, Jessica Mcnamee, Natalie Morales, Fred Armisen, Martha MacIsaac, Mickey Sumner, Bridey Elliott, Eric Chirstian Olsen, Wallace Langham, and Matt Malloy.
Jonathan Dayton and Valerie Faris direct the film from a screenplay by Simon Beaufoy, whose back catalogue includes The Full Monty, Closer Slumdog Millionaire, 127 Hours and Everest. Christian Colson, Danny Boyle and Robert Graf are the producers.
The Battle Of The Sexes has got the potential to be one of the sleeper hits of 2017 with a strong cast, great production team and a fascinating story. For anyone that saw the match back in the 70s, you may have been a bit surprised to hear that Emma Stone is playing Billie Jean King, but you can see from the picture above that she’s done a very good job of adapting to the role. It looks set to add to her list of great film releases with both Birdman and La La Land earning her a lot of praise. This should be her most challenging performance to-date, but we’re calling it early as a potential awards contender.