HBO is circling deals with Paul Giamatti and Elizabeth Banks to co-star in the premium channel’s film adaptation of the so-called Battle of the Sexes, the 1973 tennis match that pitted tennis pros Billie Jean King and Bobby Riggs against one another. King, ranked No. 2 in the world at the time, defeated the 55-year-old Wimbledon champion, who came out of retirement to play the match.
According to THR, is no director confirmed for the project as of yet, but David Auburn (Proof) is set to write the script for Playtone and executive produce the film alongside Tom Hanks and Gary Goetzman. This adds yet another project to Goetzman’s cumbersome list of projects in production, including adaptations of A Hologram for the King and Neil Gaiman’s beloved American Gods. Banks will also serve as executive producer on the project, alongside Max Handelman, through their Brownstone Productions imprint.
The announcement comes on the heels of Banks’s recent commitment to Netflix’s Wet Hot American Summer series, which may very well break the streaming service in half when upon its premiere. Meanwhile, Giamatti will next be seen opposite Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson in San Andreas, as well as in Straight Outta Compton, as renowned N.W.A. manager Jerry Heller. The stars will also be seen together later this year in Love & Mercy, wherein Banks will play the wife of Brian Wilson (John Cusack) against Giamatti’s Dr. Eugene Landy, the psychologist and author who exploited Wilson throughout the 1980s. This, at the very least, should give us a solid sense of how hard they can yell at one another before the King-Riggs project hits the small screen.