Today sees the anticipated release of Battle of the Sexes, the film based on the true story of the 1973 tennis match between Billie Jean King (played in the film by Oscar Winner Emma Stone) and Bobby Riggs (Steve Carell).

It was a momentous event for many reasons but the story has now been given the big-screen treatment from Little Miss Sunshine directors Valerie Faris and Jonathan Dayton who said that 2017 was the perfect time to bring the story to life again given the Presidential elections in America in the last year. Faris said:

“The story had been told in documentaries and a TV movie but the strange thing was there was three different films in development at the same time with us on this so I think it was really the time to re-tell the story now because we were heading into the election in the States and so I think it was on a lot of people’s minds in that it’s a man against a woman and ‘What does that remind you of?!'”

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Stone and Carell are superb in the leads, as is the rest of the incredible ensemble and Faris says that immediately both knew what they had to do to bring the characters to life and do them proud, with each taking the time to prepare for the roles months beforehand, saying:

“Well they were both willing to commit four months of prep for this – both physical prep and getting to know the character. We had never done a “real life” story before and Emma had never played a real-life character before – Steve had but Bobby was such an interesting character and a decent amount of footage to get a sense of him so the fact that both of them were really willing to dive in and really get to know their character’s in a way that you rarely get to do.”

Given the timeliness of the film with the election, it was also one of the first big television “events”, both for sport and television in general, and millions watched across the globe. And Dayton says that this, coupled with the world of politics now and then, made the film even more important, saying:

“It was a media event and so much more than just a tennis game. It was a circus and it really was a precursor to the way that politics are conducted today where it was a rally. We didn’t know what things were going to be like in America by the time the film was done but we certainly knew that it was a really relevant story.”

“And politics is entertainment.” Faris added.

Battle of the Sexes opens in UK cinemas on November 24th..