Carroll’s Cuisine: Battle Of The Sexes [Preview] • Latino Sports

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Carroll’s Cuisine: Battle Of The Sexes [Preview]

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New York, NY – Fox Searchlight Pictures’ “Battle of the Sexes” dramatizes the October 20, 1973 match between then 55 year-old Bobby Riggs (Steve Carell) and 29 year-old Billie Jean King (Emma Stone) at the Astrodome in Houston.

The brash Riggs had previously declared that he could beat any female tennis player in the world and Billie Jean King decided to take him up on the challenge by agreeing to a winner-take-all $100,000 grand prize.

The money was actually an afterthought to Billie Jean. What was really at stake was her realization that the sporting world would not take women’s tennis seriously had she lost that match. King, who won 39 Grand Slam events and started both the Women’s Tennis Association and World Team Tennis, has long called her match with Riggs the most important of her career.

This past Saturday the filmmakers and most of the stars of “Battle of the Sexes” attended a press conference for the movie that was held in Interview Room 1 at Arthur Ashe Stadium.

The inimitable Howard Cosell was a key part of that ABC telecast that to this day remains the most-watched sporting event that was not a Super Bowl. I asked co-directors Jonathan Dayton and Valerie Faris why they inserted actual footage of Howard Cosell calling the match instead of using an actor.

Jonathan Dayton admitted that it wouldn’t have been difficult to cast someone to play him  but that whenever he saw anyone trying to portray Cosell it was always a distracting caricature. Another reason cited by Dayton was that although Howard was known for being a liberal, as was evidenced by his defense of Muhammad Ali both when he changed his name from Cassius Clay and when he applied for a waiver from military service on the basis of being a conscientious objector, he was still a product of his times.

A lot of his commentary that fateful October night in 1973 contained a lot of what most of would consider to be sexist statements by 2017 standards. Dayton and Faris did not want moviegoers to think that a screenwriter was putting words into the mouth of an actor portraying arguably the most controversial sportscaster in history.

Billie Jean King surprised many at the press conference by stating that she never watched a replay of that historic ABC telecast until 25 years later. She was shocked by a lot of what Cosell said that night that frankly did not raise an eyebrow at the time.

About Lloyd Carroll

Lloyd Carroll is the Senior Columnist for the Queens Chronicle, an award-winning weekly newspaper that has served the communities of Queens since 1978. This article as well as many future articles will also appear at Queens Chronicle. In addition, Lloyd also writes for our friends over at NYSportsDay.com. In today’s world of online publications, we at Latino Sports understand and value the importance of collaborating with other online publications in order to showcase and create awareness of each other’s work and dedication to our respectable communities.