Emma Stone on Battle of the Sexes’ Parallels to Trump’s Election: It’s ‘Fascinating and Horrifying’

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Battle of the Sexes tells the story of Billie Jean King’s legendary 1973 triumph on the tennis court over Bobby Riggs, a loud, brash man who baited King into a match that drummed up publicity by playing on sexism. And in Out magazine’s cover interview with Emma Stone, Billie Jean King, and Stone’s Battle of the Sexes co-star Andrea Riseborough, Stone says she was well aware of the movie’s chilling parallels to the 2016 election. “We began shooting in the spring of 2016, when there was still a lot of hope in the air, and it was very interesting to see this guy — this narcissistic, self-focused, constantly-stirring-the-pot kind of guy — against this incredible, qualified woman, and at the same time be playing Billie Jean, with Steve [Carell] playing Bobby Riggs,” Stone said. “Obviously the way this has all panned out has been fascinating and horrifying, and it still feels like we’re in a bad dream, but those parallels make sense to me — the equal-pay issue makes a lot of sense to me. At our best right now we’re making 80 cents to the dollar.”

Stone also details conversations asking unnamed male co-stars to agree to pay cuts so they are paid equally — “That’s something they do for me because they feel it’s what’s right and fair” — and how this small parity can influence her career trajectory. “So much of [box office returns, billing] changes your pay throughout your career, so I go more to the blanket issue that women, in general, are making four fifths at best.” King pauses to interject: “White women,” the star athlete reminds. “If you’re African American or Hispanic it goes down, and then Asian Americans make 90 cents to the dollar.”

Emma Stone Compares Battle of the Sexes to Trump’s Election