I don’t know if the world really needs two new films about that famous 1973 “Battle of the Sexes” tennis match between Billie Jean King and the late Bobby Riggs, but that seems to be the case.
On one hand, Tom Hanks is co-producing an untitled HBO film about the big game, with Elizabeth Banks set to play King and Paul Giamatti on board as Riggs.
At the time, King was age 29 and the No. 2-ranked female player in the world. Riggs was then 55, and a retired former Wimbledon champion. King, of course, famously won that match.
In addition to this film, a second project is pending. “Match Maker” is based on Don Van Matta, Jr.’s ESPN The Magazine article titled, “The Match Maker: Bobby Riggs, The Mafia and The Battle of the Sexes.” Chicago native Steve Conrad is penning that screenplay and Will Ferrell is attached to play Riggs.
The thrust of that storyline is that it was Riggs’ indebtedness to outside parties that could have influenced the outcome of the match, watched by 50 million on TV back in 1973.