'Battle Of The Sexes' Depicts The Triumph Against Misogyny We Need Today

'Battle Of The Sexes' Depicts The Triumph Against Misogyny We Need Today

Actress Emma Stone made an appearance on LIVE with Kelly and Ryan on Thursday (Sept. 21), where she talked about her new movie Battle Of The Sexes and how she was very hesitant to take on the role of playing Billie Jean King. Sarah Silverman, in particular, stands out.

It's the subject of a new Fox Searchlight film, aptly also titled "Battle of the Sexes", starring Emma Stone as King and Steve Carell as Riggs, opening in theaters September 22 in select cities and in theaters nationwide on September 29.

Bobby Riggs was an American tennis player who was most successful in the 1940s, when he won four majors, including three U.S. Opens. The most fascinating story alongside King's is that of Margaret Court aka "The Arm", played by Jessica McNamee.

"They kept me so busy after that, but that's how I was feeling, such relief", says King.

Carell often plays variations of Michael Scott, the hapless white collar manager from "The Office", - the show that made him famous - but he proved his acting prowess in the 2014 wrestling drama "Foxcatcher", which earned him an Academy Award nomination.

Their film melds the public spectacle of King and Riggs' faceoff with the personal struggles both were dealing with leading up to the match.

"She set the bar, and she set it very high", said Kellmeyer.

Beaufoy weaves all these strands together with awesome dexterity.

In standing up for the rights of female athletes, Billie Jean is never more confident. It's all neatly wrapped up with a winking "someday things will be different" message that seems a bit trite for a film that's been very blunt about our current world, but by the end the whole thing will have roused you into a fever. Gifts were exchanged, as well, with King presenting Riggs with a box containing a pig, and Riggs giving King an oversized Sugar Daddy.

That ebullient moment when King triumphantly flipped her racket in the air still resonates.

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Reliably charming and charismatic, if quirky and clueless at times, Carell manages to build sympathy for Riggs even as the former tennis pro denigrates women, sabotages his marriage and takes advantage of his adult son. She is dealing with the problems of her own career and husband Larry.

Steve Carell ("Little Miss Sunshine") creates a surprisingly sympathetic portrait of Riggs, a born showman and huckster who is driven more by his frantic need for attention than his misogyny.

FARIS: It is a little like a tennis match.

But he also captures the desperation beneath Riggs' blend of amusing bluster and obnoxious grandstanding.

Since 2014, 21st Century Fox has donated over $1 million to Women's Sports Foundation to support that mission. (That stubborn lie still persists.) Refusing to believe a woman had fairly beaten their proxy, men tried to steal King's - and our - joy.

BILL PULLMAN: (As Jack Kramer) That men are simply more exciting to watch.

The rest of the supporting cast is also excellent. Riggs was rolled in on a rickshaw pulled by barely-dressed women, while King entered on a feather-adorned raft carried by shirtless men. That's really taking a risk portraying someone who is still alive.

The overt aspects come especially with Alan Cumming's character, Ted Tingling. Finally, Natalie Morales is winning as Rosie Casals, the only woman of color on the Virginia Slims Circuit and the commentator who skillfully deflected Howard Cosell's remarks.

One caveat about Simon Beaufoy's calibrated screenplay: it shows how King's newfound sexuality became a distraction that damaged her game, and includes sex scenes for titillation, but omits that Marilyn outed the tennis star against her will in a nasty palimony suit that cost Billie Jean the income from her product endorsements with the World Tennis Association.