Emma Stones Speaks of Meeting Billie Jean King in preparation for Movie “Battle of the Sexes”

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The upcoming big-screen adaptation Battle of the Sexes will re-tell the story of the 1973 match between Billie Jean King and Bobby Riggs. Starring the award winning actress Emma Stone, it will re-create what was to become a public referendum on women’s place in sports. In the on-screen version of the iconic and highly-publicized match between 29-year-old King and the world’s no. 1 player, the 55-year-old Riggs, Stone is playing King and Steve Carell is playing Riggs.

Stone told EW that she really looked forward to playing a character which she found to be so inspiring and fascinating. It was really about immersing herself in the role, which meant preparing to play a legendary tennis star.

While working on the role, Stone got to meet Billie Jean. Stone admitted that she was “desperate not to let her down and was so nervous about it, [she] sort of tried to get to know her through old footage more than asking her questions.” The actress added that “it was really fascinating to watch footage of her in the time period and read articles from that time to see the way she was presenting herself then, knowing what she was going through and what she was telling me about now.”

As well as the on-court rivalry, Jean knew plenty of struggles off the court in her personal life. The movie touches upon that, another challenge for Stone which meant that the actress had to delve deeper into the character, trying to understand how to best approach Billie’s inner struggles.

“For her, a great deal was going on privately. I was just trying to find touchstones that I could relate to, which are plenty. The battle, as much as it was this spectacle, it was also about equal treatment and equal rights. [I]t’s nice to be part of a story that’s talking about this woman who did so much for feminism and the LGBTQ community and continues to.”

Battle of the Sexes will premiere 22 September.