HBO and Playtone have set playwright and Proof scribe David Auburn to script an untitled project that has Elizabeth Banks playing Billie Jean King and Paul Giamatti Bobby Riggs in the a story of the 1973 Battle of the Sexes tennis match in which the 29-year-old No. 2-ranked female star beat the 55-year-old retired former Wimbledon champ. The film will be exec produced by Playtone partners Tom Hanks and Gary Goetzman, along with Banks and her Brownstone Productions partner Max Handelman.
This comes as a feature version of the famous match percolates. That project, Chernin Entertainment and Gary Sanchez Productions’ Match Maker, is based on Don Van Matta Jr’s ESPN The Magazine article “The Match Maker: Bobby Riggs, The Mafia And The Battle Of The Sexes.” In that version — which has Steve Conrad writing and Will Ferrell attached to play Riggs — the connotation is that Riggs’ indebtedness to outside parties could have influenced the results of an event that caught the zeitgeist like few sporting events have, drawing 50 million viewers to the telecast.
Auburn is repped by Paradigm and Code Entertainment, Giamatti by UTA and Kipperman Management, and Banks by UTA and Untitled.