The 61st BFI London Film Festival in partnership with American Express® is thrilled to serve up Battle of the Sexes, starring Emma Stone and Steve Carell, as the American Express Gala at this year’s Festival. The film will receive its European premiere on Saturday 7 October at London’s Odeon Leicester Square, with Emma Stone, Andrea Riseborough, Elisabeth Shue, directors Valerie Faris & Jonathan Dayton, and the legendary Billie Jean King expected to attend.
The BFI London Film Festival, Fox Searchlight Pictures and American Express® are also delighted to announce that there will be screenings of Battle of the Sexes with highlights from the festival premiere taking place at cinemas across the UK on Tuesday 10 October.
In the wake of the sexual revolution and the rise of the women’s movement, the 1973 tennis match between women’s world champion Billie Jean King (Emma Stone) and ex-men’s-champ and serial hustler Bobby Riggs (Steve Carell) was billed as the Battle of the Sexes and became one of the most watched televised sports events of all time, reaching 90 million viewers around the world.
As the rivalry between King and Riggs kicked into high gear, off-court each was fighting more personal and complex battles. The fiercely private King was not only championing for equality but also struggling to come to terms with her own sexuality, as her friendship with Marilyn Barnett (Andrea Riseborough) developed. And Riggs, one of the first self-made media-age celebrities, wrestled with his gambling demons, at the expense of his family and wife Priscilla (Elisabeth Shue). Together, Billie and Bobby served up a cultural spectacle that resonated far beyond the tennis court, sparking discussions in bedrooms and boardrooms that continue to reverberate today.
Watch the Battle of the Sexes trailer
Starring Academy Award winner Emma Stone and Academy Award nominee Steve Carell as 1970s tennis greats Billie Jean King and Bobby Riggs, Battle of the Sexes is directed by Jonathan Dayton and Valerie Faris from a screenplay by Academy Award winner Simon Beaufoy. Battle of the Sexes also stars Andrea Riseborough, Sarah Silverman, Bill Pullman, Alan Cumming and Academy Award nominee Elisabeth Shue.
The film is produced by Cloud Eight Films’ Christian Colson and Decibel Films’ Danny Boyle, the team behind Academy Award winning and nominated films such as Slumdog Millionaire, 127 Hours and Steve Jobs. Also producing is Robert Graf, who has previously collaborated with the directors on Ruby Sparks and has produced such projects as Hail, Caesar and No Country for Old Men.
Clare Stewart, BFI London Film Festival Director, says: “We are delighted that Jonathan Dayton and Valerie Faris’ Battle of the Sexes will be this year’s American Express Gala. This playful, funny and moving film is a rousing tribute to Billie Jean King whose impact on gender politics was as powerful as her legendary forehand.”
Christian Colson, producer Battle of the Sexes, says: “Valerie Faris and Jonathan Dayton, together with our exceptional ensemble led by Emma Stone and Steve Carell, have brought Simon Beaufoy’s richly textured screenplay joyously to life and I can’t wait to share the film with my fellow Londoners at LFF.”
Twentieth Century Fox will release the film across the UK and Ireland on 24 November.
The 61st BFI London Film Festival in partnership with American Express takes place from Wednesday 4 October-Sunday 15 October 2017. The full Festival programme will be announced on Thursday 31 August 2017.