The 1973 Battle of the Sexes match between Billie Jean King and Bobby Riggs was played in three sets, and now it seems the film adaptation will play out the same way. Three different movies about King and Riggs are in development, each with its own angle on one of the most-watched televised sporting events in history.
The latest news is that Emma Stone will star opposite Steve Carell in the movie with the most official name, Battle of the Sexes, with a screenplay by Simon Beaufoy (Slumdog Millionaire) and directed by Jonathan Dayton and Valerie Faris (the Little Miss Sunshine team). King has been involved in the development process for several years, and this version probably has the best chance of becoming the definitive filmic take on the event.
Meanwhile, Elizabeth Banks will put on her tennis whites for an untitled HBO movie with Paul Giamatti as her rival. Will Ferrell will star in a third version, The Match Maker, focused more on Riggs and speculation that he threw the match at the request of the mafia to pay off gambling debts. No actress has signed on yet to play King.
At worst, the movies risk canceling each other out (especially if they all end up debuting in the same season). At best, we get to see some great actors duke it out on the tennis court for glory—and that’s definitely worth a box seat.