Emma Stone couldn’t help but notice some striking similarities between her upcoming film Battle of the Sexes — in which she recreates Billie Jean King’s famous tennis match against avowed chauvinist Bobby Riggs — and the 2016 presidential election.
For Out magazine’s August cover story, Stone discussed the ongoing fight for women’s equality with costar Andrea Riseborough and King herself, and she likened the King-Riggs rivalry to the Hillary Clinton-Donald Trump dynamic.
“The parallels in this movie are pretty fascinating,” Stone said. “We began shooting in the spring of 2016, when there was still a lot of hope in the air, and it was very interesting to see this guy — this narcissistic, self-focused, constantly-stirring-the-pot kind of guy — against this incredible, qualified woman, and at the same time be playing Billie Jean, with Steve [Carell] playing Bobby Riggs.”
She added, “Obviously the way this has all panned out has been fascinating and horrifying, and it still feels like we’re in a bad dream, but those parallels make sense to me — the equal-pay issue makes a lot of sense to me. At our best right right now we’re making 80 cents to the dollar.”
Stone, who recently vaulted to a new level of stardom with her Oscar-winning performance in La La Land, went on to describe her own experiences with Hollywood’s gender-pay gap.
“In my career so far, I’ve needed my male costars to take a pay cut so that I may have parity with them,” she said. “And that’s something they do for me because they feel it’s what’s right and fair. That’s something that’s also not discussed, necessarily — that our getting equal pay is going to require people to selflessly say, ‘That’s what’s fair.’ If my male costar, who has a higher quote than me but believes we are equal, takes a pay cut so that I can match him, that changes my quote in the future and changes my life. And this is Billie Jean’s feminism, and I love it — she is equality, man: equality, equality, equality.”
Read Stone, Riseborough, and King’s full conversation at Out, and check out the new cover above. Battle of the Sexes opens Sept. 22.