Exclusive: Watch Emma Stone Transform Into Billie Jean King In Battle Of The Sexes

Emma Stone, is that you? We know her as the red-headed — sometimes blonde — witty ingénue, but in Battle of the Sexes, which premieres in September, Stone looks unrecognizable. In the clip above, she explains just what it took for her to become tennis star Billie Jean King.
"Playing Billie Jean, I wanted to learn as much as I possibly could, especially about Billie Jean in that era," she says. Stone plays King circa 1973, when the renowned tennis player faced Bobby Riggs in the most famous "exhibition tennis match" to earn the title of "Battle of the Sexes." (The term is used for exhibition matches between a man and a woman.)
Advertisement
After defeating tennis player Margaret Court in a similar match, Riggs (Steve Carell in the movie) challenged King to match, offering $100,000 as the cash prize. Their match, which aired September 20, 1973 on ABC, garnered an estimated 90 million viewers worldwide.
For the role, Stone underwent extensive training to have the same physical shape as King. As part of her training, she would workout twice a day — by the end of her training, she could deadlift 185 pounds. She told Entertainment Weekly that during this time she became "kind of a meathead."
"Emma was definitely in it physically, because Billie Jean was a world class tennis player, a world class athlete," Stone's co-star Carell says.
But Stone's resemblance to the character wasn't just physical.
"Billie Jean and Emma — they both have the same sort of bright light [and] fierce commitment to her craft, and I think they really connected on that," explains Valerie Faris, the director of the film.
Battle of the Sexes arrives in theaters September 22.
Read These Stories Next:
Advertisement

More from Movies

Watch

R29 Original Series

Watch Now
Documentary
Five love stories behind diverse, multicultural marriages.
Watch Now
Lifestyle
Life experiments, 5 days at a time.
Watch Now
Fashion
The style of subculture.
Watch Now
Beauty
Viral trends, tried and tested.
Watch Now
Documentary
From vibrators to lipstick, learn how your favorite products are made.
Watch Now
Documentary
Extraordinary, one-of-a-kind individuals
Watch Now
Documentary
The latest stories to watch.
Watch Now
Lifestyle
Inside the homes of millennial women — & what they paid for them
Watch Now
Comedy
Let's talk about sex, baby.
Watch Now
Documentary
Female artisans around the world
Watch Now
Politics
Made by and for smart, opinionated women.
Watch Now
Film
We helped 12 female directors claim their power.