Steve Carell and Emma Stone are set to star as rival tennis champs in Fox Searchlight’s film adaptation of the so-called Battle of the Sexes, the 1973 tennis match between the 29 year-old Billie Jean King, ranked No. 2 in the world at the time, and Bobby Riggs, the 55 year-old Wimbledon champion, who came out of retirement for the match. The match between King and Riggs became a huge national event, earning the highest TV ratings since the Moon Landing. Little Miss Sunshine helmers Jonathan Dayton and Valerie Faris will direct the script from 127 Hours and Slumdog Millionaire scribe Simon Beaufoy.
Beaufoy has been quietly working on the script over the last several years with cooperation from King – Riggs died in 1995. Per Deadline, the film will be “a comedy with dramatic and political overtones” in the vein of Little Miss Sunshine. The film is set to begin filming in the fall for a planned 2016 release date. Danny Boyle will produce through his Decibel Films alongside Christian Colson through his Cloud Eight.
With Oscar-nominated talent in front of and behind the camera, Battle of the Sexes stacks up nicely against two rival projects currently in development. HBO’s retelling of the monumental tennis match, which we first heard about last month, will star Elizabeth Banks and Paul Giamatti in the lead roles. Will Ferrell is set to star as Riggs in Match Maker, which his company Gary Sanchez is producing with Chernin Entertainment from a script by Steve Conrad (The Secret Life of Walter Mitty). Of the three projects, Battle of the Sexes is expected to be the first in front of cameras.