In 2015, when husband-and-wife directing team Valerie Faris and Jonathan Dayton came aboard Battle of the Sexes, the Fox Searchlight film about Billie Jean King and Bobby Riggs’ iconic tennis match, they figured it was going to hit theaters at a very different time — perhaps when the first woman had been elected President of the United States.
But as they told a packed audience of AMPAS and key guild voters at Deadline’s 7th annual The Contenders awards-season event last month at the DGA Theater, that was not to be the case. As Dayton says, they decided to make this movie a very personal one, dealing with King’s affair at age 29, as well as Riggs’ personal life. They also praise the dedication of their stars Emma Stone and Steve Carell, and discuss how they trained to be believable as tennis pros.
Also, how did they go about casting the role of ABC commentator Howard Cosell by using the real Howard Cosell? Check out our interview above to find out.