Emma Stone, fresh off her Academy Award-winning performance in the delightful “La La Land”, is about to face down gender inequality as part of the tennis drama “Battle of the Sexes”. But in order to play tennis pro Billie Jean King convincingly, Stone put on weight, and her trainer says it made the actresses' day.
“We started doing training geared toward getting more weight and muscle on her, so it was a little more believable onscreen, and also for her mind and her character. ... She was ecstatic when she got on [the scale]. Most girls who get on the scale and gain weight freak out, [but] she had the biggest smile in the world when the weight started to increase,” Emma Stone's trainer, Jason Walsh, told People magazine.
The film will portray the events of Jean King, a tennis icon and a former World No. 1 tennis player who tore down gender stereotypes as she challenged Bobby Riggs (who will be portrayed by Steve Carell in the film) in a highly publicized match. The event was massive, earning a viewership of nearly 90 million people back in 1973. To many, this was the event that legitimized women's tennis, and helped put it on the level of men's tennis in a still-uneven era of professional sport.
This is also an exciting follow up project for Emma Stone, as the industry usually plays very close attention to how an actor follows up their Oscar win. With “La La Land”, Emma Stone bought herself credibility to get movies made, to pursue roles that might have been viewed as too difficult before. “Battle of the Sexes” made the rounds at the fall film festivals, and picked up mostly positive reviews. Early reviews are singling out Stone and saying that she could make another run at an Oscar nomination for playing the tennis ace on screen. Maybe that's why she was so happy to add the 15 pounds and produce toned muscles.
“Battle of the Sexes” opens in theatres on September 22.