EXCLUSIVE: Following his role in Steven Spielberg’s Bridge of Spies. Austin Stowell has joined Battle of the Sexes, Fox Searchlight’s upcoming sports biopic starring Emma Stone as women’s tennis and feminist icon Billie Jean King: Stowell will play Larry King, Billie Jean’s husband.
It’s directed by Little Miss Sunshine duo Jonathan Dayton & Valerie Faris and somewhat similar to their earlier film, Battle of the Sexes will be made as a character based comedy, along with dramatic and political overtones. The film chronicles the famous “Battle of the Sexes”, the September 1973 tennis match in which King, a 29-year old No. 2 ranked female star, beat 55-year former Tennis champ Bobby Riggs after Riggs had spent the year making news insisting that the female game was inferior to male game. Coinciding with the height of the second wave of feminism, King and Riggs became the representatives for their genders and their match became a cultural zeitgeist that set viewership and attendance records.
Battle of the Sexes will also examine King’s personal struggle as a lesbian. Married to her husband at 21, she only realized some years later that she was gay and began a relationship with her secretary Marilyn Barnett. That relationships became public in 1981 after it ended, when Barnett sued King for financial support, forcing King to become the first prominent female athlete to come out. Despite this, the Kings remained married until 1987.
Alongside Stone and Stowell, Steve Carell co-stars as Bobby Riggs, and Andrea Riseborough will play Barnett. Elizabeth Shue has also been cast. The film is written by Simon Beaufoy and is being produced by Danny Boyle through his Decibel Films, and Christian Colson through his Cloud Eight banner.
Along with Bridge of Spies, Stowell was also recently seen in Public Morals. His upcoming films include Stratton, directed by Simon West and also starring Dominic Cooper, the James Franco-directed films In Dubious Battle and The Long Home, and Nacho Vigalondo’s Colossal. He’s repped by CAA and ROAR.