Fox Searchlight has released the first Battle of the Sexes trailer. The film is based on the real-life showdown between tennis champion and feminist icon Billie Jean King (Emma Stone) and chauvinist has-been Bobby Riggs (Steve Carell).
There are two striking things about this trailer. The first is that the film looks like it’s shot to make it look like the picture was made in the 1970s, which helps lend some authenticity to the drama. While there’s always a battle between modern filmmaking techniques and not wanting to make sure film look too dated, it looks like directors Jonathan Dayton and Valerie Faris have settled on a nice tone that makes their footage look in line with the real footage from the time period.
The other striking thing is that you pretty much have to get someone like Carell to play Riggs, otherwise his chauvinism comes off as petty and hateful instead of ridiculous. While the film is clearly pushing back against his attitude, it takes someone with Carell’s overpowering affability to make that kind of behavior work. It’s the kind of performance that netted Carell six Emmy nominations for his work on The Office.
Check out the Battle of the Sexes trailer below. The film opens September 22nd and also stars Sarah Silverman, Andrea Riseborough, Elisabeth Shue, Alan Cumming, and Eric Christian Olsen.
Here’s the official synopsis for Battle of the Sexes:
The electrifying 1973 tennis match between World number one Billie Jean King (Emma Stone) and ex-champ and serial hustler Bobby Riggs (Steve Carell) was billed as the BATTLE OF THE SEXES and became the most watched televised sports event of all time. The match caught the zeitgeist and sparked a global conversation on gender equality, spurring on the feminist movement. Trapped in the media glare, King and Riggs were on opposites sides of a binary argument, but off-court each was fighting more personal and complex battles. With a supportive husband urging her to fight the Establishment for equal pay, the fiercely private King was also struggling to come to terms with her own sexuality, while Riggs gambled his legacy and reputation in a bid to relive the glories of his past. Together, Billie and Bobby served up a cultural spectacle that resonated far beyond the tennis courts and animated the discussions between men and women in bedrooms and boardrooms around the world.