Comedian and actress Sarah Silverman has signed on for the true-life tennis pic “Battle of the Sexes,” following up her successful turn in the drama “I Smile Back.”
Silverman will join Emma Stone, Steve Carell, Elisabeth Shue and Andrea Riseborough in the cast. The filmmakers behind “Little Miss Sunshine,” Jonathan Dayton and Valerie Faris, are directing. Simon Beaufoy (“Slumdog Millionaire,” “The Hunger Games: Catching Fire,” “127 Hours”) penned the screenplay.
Variety reports that Silverman will play founder of World Tennis magazine, Gladys Heldman, who also helped organize a female-only circuit following widespread complaints from female competitors that they were not being paid as much as their male counterparts.
Stone, meanwhile, is set to play the female lead role of Billie Jean King. Following a win over a different female player, Margaret Court, former Wimbledon champ Bobby Riggs taunted all female tennis players for a match. This prompted the 29-year-old King to agree to a televised match against the 55-year-old Riggs, which would come to be known as “Battle of the Sexes.” Carell is playing the role of Riggs in the film.
King would proceed to beat Riggs and take home the $100,000 winner-takes-all prize in 1973. The match was watched by an estimated 90 million people globally, making it the most-watched tennis match of all time. “Battle of the Sexes” would have a lasting legacy on women’s tennis.
The role marks another impressive turn for Silverman, who most recently starred in “I Smile Back,” which earned her a SAG nomination. Silverman will next be seen in The Lonely Island feature film “Popstar: Never Stop Never Stopping” with fellow comedian Andy Samberg, as well as Adam Levine and Imogen Poots.
“Battle of the Sexes” is aiming for an April start date and 2017 release. The Hollywood Reporter was the first to report the news.