'Battle of the Sexes' Serves A victor

Emma Stone Had a Heart to Heart With Stephen Colbert About Her Lifelong Struggle with Anxiety

In the story of Billie Jean King beating Bobby Riggs, told again in Battle Of The Sexes, it's often forgotten that she didn't particularly want to do it. Watching a competent woman take on a buffoonish and blatantly sexist male opponent will feel a tad familiar to audiences who lived through the politics of the last two years, but how did critics respond to this eerily relevant sports story?

"The fact that she let herself explore that and not deny herself that because of her place, because of her public image and all the pressure that was on her - I think that's what was so fearless in those times", said Faris.

Over the course of a month of location filming, expenditure for Battle of the Sexes included $350,000 on transport, $15,000 on accommodation and $9m in wages to 3,000 local crew. "You know, at your age, I was like, 'Oh, let's go get this done in a few seconds, '" King says, addressing the 30-year-old reporter in front of her.

"I was a very very anxious child", she explained, "and I had a lot of panic attacks". Claiming the female sex to be vastly inferior, Riggs sets the publicity machine in motion by declaring that he could defeat any female player, no matter her ranking. Faris and Dayton's film ends long before King came out, but it does volley between the competitive, business side of King building the Women's Tennis Association, prepping for the match with Riggs that would be analyzed for almost half a century, and her budding love affair with Barnett (Andrea Riseborough).

The tennis center in Long Beach is named in King's honor and in 2008 the site of the U.S. Open was named the USTA Billie Jean King National Tennis Center.

"As I got older I started to understand the responsibilities that I had as a female athlete because of things that Billie had done", Lieberman said. 21st Century Fox also worked closely with the foundation on campaigns surrounding the Fox series "Pitch" to support its Sports 4 Life program, which awards grants to schools, parks and recreation departments, nonprofits, and amateur sports leagues that encourage the participation and retention of young black and Hispanic girls in developmental sports programs. When Riggs, eyeing a chance to reenter the limelight by proving the superiority of men over women, challenges Court to a match, she accepts and loses badly.

As the film opens, Billie Jean storms into a social club to confront Jack Kramer (Bill Pullman), a former player and creator of the "Open" tournaments. That trend will hopefully continue following "Battle of the Sexes". "One of the things that we love about all her movies is that she's really interesting in the way that she expresses desire". Feeling it's her obligation to redeem her sport, and the women who play it, King agrees to play Riggs. And later, when Billie Jean and Marilyn tumble into bed together, Stone was uninhibited.

RISEBOROUGH: (As Marilyn Barnett) You don't care about how you look, someone as pretty as you? And although the incandescently elfin Stone doesn't much resemble King-who always looked both refined and California-friendly-she nails King's thoughtful directness.

Billie Jean Moffit was born in Long Beach in 1943 and named after her father, who fought in World War II. She became the first person to win three NHRA Top Fuel championships (1977, '80, '82).

You two are very choosy about the feature films you direct. She doesn't really dwell that much on the past, so I think this was actually not easy for her to kind of revisit and relive some of these memories. What time was she gonna drop me off?

DAYTON: And our kids would say, you know, stop fighting.

And fellow director Jonathan Dayton believes the "little distance" has helped Emma to "embrace" her character. Their new film is called "Battle Of The Sexes".

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