It’s been 44 years since Billie Jean King and Bobby Riggs faced off at the Astrodome in their climactic Battle of the Sexes, but the gender-equality issues of 1973 seem awfully relevant in 2017.
The upcoming film adaptation casts Emma Stone as King and Steve Carell as Riggs, chronicling their high-profile rivalry, unlikely friendship, and eventual showdown on the court. But as the film also explores, King was fighting for gender equality long before she ever went toe-to-toe with Riggs. In this exclusive clip, King and her business partner Gladys Heldman (Sarah Silverman) confront the tennis association’s head honcho, Jack Kramer (Bill Pullman), to ask why the women’s prize money is only one-eighth the amount of the men’s winnings. Spoiler: They’re not all that impressed by his answer.
Stone spoke to EW earlier this summer about the film, and how the struggles King faced in 1973 feel more relevant than ever.
“The battle, as much as it was this spectacle, it was also about equal treatment and equal rights,” she said. “It’s one of those things that as time goes on, it’s so painful to understand that it’s become more relevant instead of more of a nostalgic piece. We’re still having the exact same fights, and that’s become more apparent, unfortunately, over the past year and a half since we shot it. It feels like not much at all has changed since this huge event. It’s a painful truth. But it’s nice to be part of a story that’s talking about this woman who did so much for feminism and the LGBTQ community and continues to. And just to shed light on how long she’s been walking this path and walking her talk. That’s the special thing.”
Jonathan Dayton and Valerie Faris (Little Miss Sunshine) directed Battle of the Sexes, which hits theaters Sept. 22.