Crazy, Stupid, Love, Match? Emma Stone and Steve Carell are attached to star in Fox Searchlight’s Battle of the Sexes, which will portray the famed match between Billie Jean King and Bobby Riggs. Stone will play King, the No. 2 ranked female tennis player in 1973 when she, at 29, was challenged by and bested 55-year-old Wimbledon great Riggs (Carell), who came out of retirement for the match.
Jonathan Dayton and Valerie Faris, the team behind Little Miss Sunshine, will direct from a long-gestating script by Simon Beaufoy (Slumdog Millionaire). The scribe has been working with King on the screenplay (Riggs passed away in 1995), which is expected to be comedic but still address important political issues. Danny Boyle will produce.
This is one of three competing projects about the match between King and Riggs, though it’s currently predicted to be the first in front of cameras. HBO is working on an original movie starring Elizabeth Banks and Paul Giamatti, while Will Ferrell is taking on the role of Riggs in a pic titled Match Maker.
While it’s unfortunate that Hollywood always seems to latch onto multiple adaptations of the same story at the exact same time, there’s no denying the appeal of a movie led by actors as roundly talented as Stone and Carell. Notably, both got their start in comedy, the former in Superbad and the latter in Bruce Almighty, and recently proved their mettle with challenging dramatic roles, Stone in Birdman (or the Unexpected Virtue of Ignorance) and Carell in Foxcatcher. Both were honored with Academy Award nominations in supporting categories for those performances.
Whether or not Battle of the Sexes will be positioned for awards has yet to be seen. We’ll keep you posted as more on what sounds like a must-see comes to light.