The hair-cutting scene was deliberately tailored to invoke a sensation of so called ASMR - Autonomous Sensory Meridian Response. ASMR is a reported experience that people describe as a "tingling" sensation, typically beginning at the scalp. ASMR video and audio had grown as a phenomenon on home-produced media in the years before the film, and this inspired directors Valerie Faris and Jonathan Dayton. "People work to make videos that elicit this response" Jonathan Dayton said "and we were wondering: 'Could we get that response in a theatre full of people?'". The scene invokes several typical ASMR "triggers", such as: face closeups, soft-spoken voices, sounds of scissors and blow-dryers, personal attention.
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In 1973, Billie Jean King was 29 and Bobby Riggs was 55. At the time of filming, Emma Stone was 28 and Steve Carell was 54.
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The film only briefly touches upon the homophobic attitude of Margaret Court (the Australian tennis player). She correctly suspects Billie Jean King is having a lesbian relationship with her hairdresser, and speaks of "immorality" and "sin". In real life, it went further; Court became an anti-gay activist after her tennis career, vocally opposing same-sex marriage in Australia.
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Emma Stone put on 15 pounds of muscle for this film.
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Emma Stone was initially cast as Billie Jean King, but scheduling issues forced her to pass on the role. Brie Larson was ultimately tapped to replace her. After a few months, Larson dropped out. After Stone's schedule was cleared, she was able to take back the role.
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While riding in the car, Billie Jean King and Marilyn Barnett listen to an Elton John song. John, a friend of King's, wrote his hit single "Philadelphia Freedom" in honor of her.
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The Fox logo at the beginning of the film is changed to resemble that from 1973 to help give the film the feel that it was made in the year the events covered in the story took place.
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The film sugarcoats Billie Jean King's love affair with Marilyn Barnett. In 1981, Barnett sued King, invoking "palimony" law, and nearly destroyed King's career. It took years for King to rebuild what she'd lost.
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Bobby Riggs's hustling and male chauvinism were known prior to his match with Billie Jean King, but became more infamous afterward. In 1973, he guest starred as himself on The Odd Couple: The Pig Who Came to Dinner (1973), in which he hustled Oscar Madison out of everything, including his apartment lease and Felix. Riggs also gambled with Felix, betting that he would become a member of the male chauvinist club, Riggs' Pigs, if Felix lost. Billie Jean King also appeared in the episode.
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Vince Spadea and Kaitlyn Christian served as tennis doubles for Steve Carell and Emma Stone. Christian had a five-week contract, but filming ultimately took around four months.
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Eric Christian Olsen wears Lornie Kuhle's outfit from 1973. Kuhle still owned it, and allowed the production to use it.
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Throughout the film, women are generally facing to the right and men to the left, symbolizing female progressiveness and male traditionalism.
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Emma Stone has admitted that she is not very skilled at tennis.
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This is the first time Danny Boyle has produced but not directed a film since 28 Weeks Later (2007). Boyle was originally set to direct, but had to leave due to scheduling conflicts with Steve Jobs (2015) and T2 Trainspotting (2017).
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Alan Cumming plays Ted Tinling with his own natural, full head of hair. The real Ted Tinling was completely bald.
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This is the second collaboration between Steve Carell and Emma Stone. In Crazy, Stupid, Love. (2011), Stone played Carell's character's daughter.
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In real life, Billie Jean King's brother was a star athlete. He is former Houston Astro pitcher Randy Moffitt. He also pitched for the San Francisco Giants and Toronto Blue Jays.
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Portrayed by Eric Christian Olsen in this film, real life friend to Bobby Riggs and short-lived former professional tennis player Lornie Kuhle has a small role as an interviewer at the beginning of the match between Riggs and Margaret Court.
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The film premiered at The Toronto International Film Festival in September 2017.
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