Comedian Sarah Silverman and “Bridge of Spies” actor Austin Stowell have joined the cast of “Battle of the Sexes” for Fox Searchlight.
The story is said to focus on tennis player Billie Jean King (Emma Stone) and her famous ‘Battle of the Sexes’ against 55-year-old retired former Wimbledon champion Robert ‘Bobby’ Riggs (Steve Carell) in 1973.
Riggs claimed female tennis was inferior and challenged the then world No. 2 player King to a match. She declined, but women’s tennis top player Margaret Court accepted. Riggs beat her 6-2 6-1 thanks to his tricky use of drop shots and lobs, he then went on to taunt all female tennis players.
This prompted King to accept a lucrative financial offer to play Riggs in a nationally televised match that the promoters dubbed the “Battle of the Sexes” with a 90 million worldwide audience tuning in. Having learned from Court’s loss, King was prepared for Riggs’ game and easily beat him 6-4 6-3 6-3.
Some have claimed Riggs’ loss was on purpose as a way to pay off gambling debts, a claim that was quickly denied.
Silverman will play World Tennis magazine founder Gladys Heldman who helped organize King and other female players on a separate women’s only circuit when they felt they weren’t being paid as much as male players. Heldman was later inducted into the International Tennis Hall of Fame.
Stowell will play Larry King, Billie Jean’s husband. Andrea Riseborough is onboard as King’s secretary Marilyn Barnett whom she ended up having a relationship with. Elizabeth Shue also stars.
“Little Miss Sunshine” filmmakers Jonathan Dayton and Valerie Faris will direct from a script by Simon Beaufoy. Danny Boyle and Christian Colson will produce and filming begins in April.