×

Will Ferrell to Star in Tennis Drama About 1973 Battle of the Sexes Match (EXCLUSIVE)

Steve Conrad is attached to adapt the script

Having already taken on roles set in the world of semi-pro basketball and little league soccer, actor and sports fan Will Ferrell looks ready to hit the tennis courts for his next sports-themed pic.

Ferrell is attached to star in “The Secret Life of Walter Mitty” scribe Steve Conrad’s “Match Maker,” which is about tennis’ legendary battle of the sexes match between Billie Jean King and Bobby Riggs.

Peter Chernin and Jenno Topping will produce via their Chernin Entertainment banner, along with Ferrell and Adam McKay through their Gary Sanchez Productions shingle. Chernin Entertainment senior VP David Ready and Gary Sanchez’s Jessica Elbaum will also produce.

Based on Don Van Natta Jr.’s ESPN.com article, “The Match Maker: Bobby Riggs, the Mafia and the Battle of the Sexes,” the story follows the high profile rivalry between the two tennis pros and their iconic 1973 tennis match. The match was watched by 50 million Americans, who tuned in to see whether a 29-year-old female King could beat the retired 55-year-old Riggs.

Ferrell is well known for being a major sports fan and is regularly seen on the sidelines of a USC football game or courtside for a Los Angeles Lakers basketball game. According to insiders, it was his passion for tennis that gave Chernin the idea to pursue him for the role of Riggs.

Conrad is currently in pre-production on an untitled John Belushi biopic starring Emile Hirsch. He is repped by CAA and the Collective.

Ferrell was last seen in Paramount’s “Anchorman 2: the Legend Continues” and “The Lego Movie” and is currently shooting the Warner Bros. comedy “Get Hard” with Kevin Hart. He is repped by CAA and Mosaic.

Chernin has a handful of films set to bow this year, including “Dawn of the Planet of the Apes” and the Fox Searchlight mob pic “The Drop.”

Popular on Variety

More Film

  • Rob Schneider'The Week Of' film premiere,

    Film News Roundup: Rob Schneider Wins SAG-AFTRA National Board Seat

    In today’s film news roundup, Rob Schneider wins a SAG-AFTRA board seat; “Badland,” “Sorry We Missed You” and “Extracurricular” find homes; and “The Shawshank Redemption” gets a re-release.  SAG-AFTRA Rob Schneider has won a SAG-AFTRA national board seat as a member of presidential candidate Matthew Modine’s progressive Membership First slate. Schneider won a four-year term [...]

  • This photo shows actor David Oyelowo

    David Oyelowo Joins George Clooney in 'Good Morning, Midnight' Adaptation (EXCLUSIVE)

    David Oyelowo is in final negotiations to join George Clooney in Netflix’s untitled adaptation of Lily Brooks-Dalton’s 2016 novel “Good Morning, Midnight,” sources tell Variety. Felicity Jones and Kyle Chandler are also on board, with Clooney set to helm the pic — his first feature film directing gig since 2017’s “Suburbicon.” “The Revenant” screenwriter Mark [...]

  • Disney Delays 'Cruella,' 'Woman in the

    Disney Delays 'Cruella,' 'Woman in the Window'

    Disney is shaking up its release calendar, delaying its live action “Cruella” until Memorial Day 2021 and pushing Fox 2000 drama “The Woman in the Window” to 2020. “Cruella,” starring Emma Stone, is based on the classic “101 Dalmatians” villain Cruella de Vil. The revisit to Disney’s animated classic was originally set to hit theaters [...]

  • Spider-Man Could Leave the Marvel Cinematic

    Spider-Man Could Leave MCU if Disney, Sony Can't Reach Financing Deal

    Disney’s Marvel Studios and Sony Pictures have hit an impasse on new financing terms for upcoming Spider-Man movies, sources have told Variety. If a deal cannot be reached, Marvel Studios president Kevin Feige will not produce future Spider-Man films, effectively removing Tom Holland’s Spider-Man from the Marvel Cinematic Universe. Reps for Disney, Marvel and Sony [...]

  • Australia Makes Progress on Gender Equality

    Australia Makes Progress on Gender Equality in Film and TV

    Screen Australia, Australia’s federal film and TV funding body, has made sufficient progress in furthering gender equality that it has set more ambitious targets. The organization has exceeded its long-term Gender Matters key performance indicator, with 56% of projects receiving production funding having at least half of the key creative roles occupied by women, based [...]

More From Our Brands

Access exclusive content