Love and equality reigned supreme at Regency Village Theatre Saturday night, where stars, athletes, and tennis fanatics alike united for the Los Angeles premiere of “Battle of the Sexes.”
“[I hope we] come to a place where it doesn’t matter what gender you are, it doesn’t matter what race you are, it doesn’t matter what your sexuality is — everyone is absolutely equal. That’s humanity and that’s just the truth,” said Emma Stone, who stars as tennis legend and equal rights activist Billie Jean King in the sports biopic.
Stone recalled the difficulty of portraying a real-life figure in “Battle of the Sexes” — her first time doing so in a feature film.
“Capturing her essence was very important to us,” she said, noting the pressure of stepping into the role of an icon.
Set in the early ‘70s, “Battle of the Sexes” chronicles the epic tennis match between King and former men’s champ Bobby Riggs (Steve Carell). Privately, they’re fighting their own battles — King with her sexuality and Riggs with a gambling problem.
For husband-and-wife directing duo Jonathan Dayton and Valerie Faris, King’s story exemplifies empowerment.
Popular on Variety
“She was married and having her first affair with a woman while she was fighting for women’s equality. And at the same time preparing for a highly publicized match with Bobby Riggs. She had all that on the line,” said Faris.
Andrea Riseborough, who plays King’s lover, praised the directors’ mission to create “a film about love that transcended gender, sexuality, age, race.”
Simon Beaufoy wrote the screenplay for the film, which also stars Elisabeth Shue, Sarah Silverman, Bill Pullman, and Alan Cumming.
“Battle of the Sexes” hits theaters Sept. 22.