Earlier today, Fox Searchlight released the first trailer for the forthcoming Battle of the Sexes. The film is based on the epic, real-life tennis match between Billie Jean King and Bobby Riggs. Steve Carell and Emma Stone star as King and Riggs, and Jonathan Dayton and Valerie Faris—of Little Miss Sunshine fame—will direct.
In 1973, aging tennis star Bobby Riggs claimed that women’s tennis was inferior to men’s and that he, at age 55, could still beat even the best female tennis players. He first challenged top-ranked Billie Jean King, but was rebuffed. As such, Riggs challenged Margaret Court, beating her handily.
After Court’s loss—and a $100,000 winner-take-all offer—King finally agreed to the match. The resulting match—dubbed the “Battle of the Sexes”—was one of the most-watched televised sporting events of all time. Global conversation surrounding the match revolved around gender issues, as smooth-talking Riggs was generally perceived as a misogynist, while King was herself a staunch feminist.
From the trailer, Carell and Stone appear perfectly prepared for their roles. Not to suggest that Carell’s a misogynist, of course, but his delivery of the line, “Don’t get me wrong, I love women in the bedroom and in the kitchen,” just oozes male chauvinism. Stone’s reply: “Keep talking, Bobby. The more nonsense you spout, the worse it’s going to be when you lose,” hints at a movie rife with gender tension.
Battle of the Sexes drops Sept. 22. Take a look at the first trailer above.