Following the success of the 2013 documentary Battle Of The Sexes there was a lot of interest in turning that story into a feature film. At one point Danny Boyle was planning to turn the tale of Billie Jean King’s infamous match against misogynist Bobby Riggs into a movie, and shortly after that Will Ferrell signed up to play Riggs in a rival flick.
Neither of those films came to pass, but now HBO has stepped up to the plate to get a film about the match made, and they’ve got a great cast to help, as Variety reports that Elizabeth Banks will play King, with Paul Giamatti as Riggs.
The film will be set in the early 70s, when former male World Number 1 tennis played and self-proclaimed chauvinist Bobby Riggs’ declared that the female game was inferior and that a top woman player couldn’t beat him even at the age of 55. He then challenged the already legendary female player Billie Jean King to a match, but she declined.
However Margaret Court, who was then the top female player in the world, took on the challenge, but lost to Bobby in straight sets, seemingly confirming Riggs’ claims. King wasn’t going to stand for that and agreed to play Bobby in what became a nationally televised media sensation.
It was an important time in King’s life for another reason too, as for the first time she’d relatively recently become involved in a relationship with a woman, even though she was still married to a man at the time.
It’s not known if the HBO movie will cover that aspect of King’s life or if it will just stick to the tennis. David Auburn (Proof) is set to write, although it doesn’t appear a director is attached as yet.