Murtada here. So you have a new movie about a very popular internationally recognizable person, what to do to announce that your film has started shooting? Why get Billie Jean King herself to tweet a photo of your two stars, right next to the two real life people they are playing. Get everyone talking about the uncanny likeness. Easy peasy, the internet ate it up!
Battle of the Sexes is about the 1973 tennis match between King and Bobby Riggs that made headlines worldwide and still stands in the culture as encapsulation of 1970s changing social attitudes about sport and feminism. Emma Stone is King and Steve Carrell is Riggs and boy do they look the part. Jonathan Dayton and Valerie Faris (Little Miss Sunshine) are directing, the supporting cast includes Sarah Silverman, Alan Cumming, Elisabeth Shue and in a Birdman reunion Andrea Riseborough as Marilyn Barnett, King’s girlfriend at the time. It was surprising to see Danny Boyle's name as a producer, although not so much when seeing his Slumdog Millionaire and 127 Hours partner Simon Beaufoy as the screenwriter.
Riseborough’s casting hopefully means that the movie will explore the tumultuous relationship between King and Barnett. Their relationship became public in 1980 when Barnett sued for alimony, outing King and putting her in the path of LGBT rights advocacy. That was 7 years after the battle of the sexes, so we are keeping hopes tempered.
The film just started shooting, so we have a long wait before we can see it, perhaps in the second half of 2017. However since this is an awards site, it’s never too early to speculate. We know that playing a real life person - with that person making the campaign rounds alongside the actor - is a surefire way to win an Oscar. The movie has to be good of course, this one at least has the pedigree. Will this be Emma’s moment?