Movies typically take between two and three years to progress from the drawing board to the big screen, so it's unlikely that the team behind "Battle of the Sexes" fully understood in 2015 and 2014 how timely their project would be following the 2016 presidential election.
"I was so excited to meet this woman and God did I fall in love with her". "Battle of the Sexes" is best not when it is preaching to us but, rather, in those moments when both King and Riggs drop their public faces and reveal the roiling underneath.
Over the course of a month of location filming, expenditure for Battle of the Sexes included $350,000 on transport, $15,000 on accommodation and $9m in wages to 3,000 local crew.
"No pressure, by the way, this is the first thing she said to me", says Stone, delightedly needling King, sitting by her side during a recent interview at the US Open tennis tournament.
Early in 1973 Riggs challenged King to a match, saying a middle-aged man could still beat the best woman player in the world.
Stone plays King in the film, while Carell portrays Riggs, who died in 1995. But I sat with Billie Jean, we were able to talk about things.
The iconic tennis player and women's rights advocate had the right idea but her timing, it turns out, was just a bit off.
ANDREA RISEBOROUGH: (As Marilyn Barnett) What do you want? The movie is clearly on her shoulders, and though she in no way engulfs herself physically into the character (in a lot of ways it's just Emma Stone in a wig), it's the strong writing (by Simon Beaufoy) and direction that makes Stone believable in the role, which is very different from what she's played in the past. Symbolic though it was, Billie Jean King's win was a crowd-pleasing victory that helped bring women's liberation into the living rooms of millions of people, and as a result, some progress was made. Nor did King break down and cry alone in the locker room as Stone does after the historic win.
Agreeing with the actress' assessment, Colbert quipped: "Yes, it does look like you're topless". And with a faithful but subdued representation of King, Stone never lets her performance stand in the way of the film's message. She is a fully realized person. Without sermonizing, "Battle of the Sexes" speaks to issues that are sadly all too contemporary, but it does so in a way that is entertaining, thoughtful and emotionally engaging, making it a worthy entry in the Oscar race. The film is littered with moments that will make you smile. But that's a reductive conflict that doesn't do justice to the reality: that structural discrimination doesn't usually twirl a mustache (and, as pointed out in The Big Sick, most hecklers just think they're helping).
JD I think if you try to keep the truth in the story, it will resonate always.
"If you are on a panel with her and and no one's talking to you or asking you [questions], she starts talking about you", Miss Shue said.
And fellow director Jonathan Dayton believes the "little distance" has helped Emma to "embrace" her character.
Timely as ever considering the ongoing fight for equality, not to mention the parallels with our ludicrous political climate, "Battle of the Sexes" is a captivating crowd-pleaser.