Fox Searchlight Pictures has just entered the race to make a movie about Bobby Riggs and Billie Jean King's infamous 1973 tennis match, with Steve Carell and Emma Stone signing on to play the tennis pros in Battle of the Sexes. There are currently two other projects about this match in development, Chernin Entertainment's Match Maker, starring Will Ferrell as Riggs and an untitled project from Playtone that has Paul Giamatti and Elizabeth Banks set to star. Fox Searchlight is aiming to release Battle of the Sexes in 2016, with Jonathan Dayton and Valerie Faris (Little Miss Sunshine) directing from a script by Simon Beaufoy (The Hunger Games: Catching Fire).
The 1973 match between the 55-year-old Bobby Riggs, a former Wimbledon champ, and 29-year-old Billie Jean King, then the #2 ranked female tennis player in the world, became a nationwide sensation, drawing in the highest TV ratings since the Moon landing in 1969. The movie will be crafted as a comedy with dramatic and political overtones, much in the same vein as Little Miss Sunshine. While both players became representatives for their respective genders, the match came at a time where they were still trying to figure out their place in the world, under the harsh glare of the media spotlight. Simon Beaufoy has been working on the script for several years, with the cooperation of Billie Jean King herself. Bobby Riggs passed away in 1995.
Danny Boyle is producing through his Decibel Films, alongside Christian Colson and his Cloud Eight company. Both Steve Carell and Emma Stone are coming off Oscar-nominated performances in Foxcatcher and Birdman. Steve Carell will provide the voice of Gru once again in the Despicable Me spinoff Minions. Emma Stone will next be seen in Aloha, arriving in theaters May 29. Steve Carell and Emma Stone both previously starred together in Crazy Stupid Love.