She’s the Oscar winning actress who made her debut as tennis legend Billie Jean King in Battle Of The Sexes earlier in the week.
And after revealing she had to put on seven kilos of muscle for the role, Emma Stone said it wasn’t as easy as it looked.
Speaking to the Herald Sun, the 28-year-old star said her body was not built to resemble an athletic shape.
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A challenge: On Sunday, Emma Stone revealed she found it difficult gaining 7kg of muscle for her role as Billie Jean King in Battle Of The Sexes
‘Billie Jean was very muscular so I had to do a lot of weightlifting,’ she said.
‘She was very powerful and played a very, very aggressive game. My body is not naturally like Billie Jean’s, obviously.’
‘She is a machine and such a natural athlete, whereas I’m not athletic at all,’ she continued.
Getting into character: ‘Billie Jean was very muscular so I had to do a lot of weightlifting’
The person behind it: Her transformation for the role wouldn’t have been made possible without her celebrity trainer Jason Walsh (pictured)
But her transformation for the role wouldn’t have been made possible without her celebrity trainer Jason Walsh, responsible for the bodies of some of the biggest household names including Justin Theroux , Milo Ventimiglia as well as many Victoria’s Secret angles including Sara Sampaio and Irina Shayk.
Speaking to E! Online, Jason said Emma’s transformation took a caloric increase through protein shakes and a lot of sled pushes.
‘Emma took it very seriously,’ he said.
She took it seriously: Speaking to E! Online, her trainer Jason Walshe said Emma’s transformation took a caloric increase through protein shakes and a lot of sled pushes
(L-R) Jason Walsh, Emma Stone, Billie Jean King: ‘This is somebody’s story that she’s taken on. She wanted to make sure she could do everything possible to portray Billie Jean King in the right way’
‘This is somebody’s story that she’s taken on. She wanted to make sure she could do everything possible to portray Billie Jean King in the right way.’
To mould into her new shape, her trainer revealed they worked together five days a week and twice daily for four of the days.
But it wasn’t all work for the star who was able to deadlift nearly 85kg as she was regularly seen appearing in happy selfies taken mid-session with Jason on his Instagram account.
Working hard: To mould into her new shape, her trainer revealed they worked together five days a week and twice daily for four of the days
Pulling off a film based on real events is no easy task, particularly when the audience is already aware of the outcome. This is especially true in the new film “Battle of the Sexes,” which explores the events leading up to the iconic 1973 tennis match of the same name between 29-year-old women’s tennis star Billie Jean King (Emma Stone) and 55-year-old former Wimbledon champion Bobby Riggs (Steve Carell). Moviegoers with a general awareness of tennis history will know exactly how the film ends; anyone who isn’t familiar with the landmark King-Riggs match can watch its actual footage to see how it all went down.
Thankfully, “Battle of the Sexes” is less occupied with the end result than it is with the individual journeys and arcs of its protagonists. By focusing on the story behind the momentous match, the film allows us to understand its significance to a greater extent, all while taking its audience on a hilarious, heartfelt and inspiring ride to the championship.
Directed by Jonathan Dayton and Valerie Faris (“Little Miss Sunshine,” “Ruby Sparks”), the film examines two parallel stories: one of established tennis idol Billie Jean King, fresh off of multiple Grand Slam victories, and one of retired world No. 1 Bobby Riggs, who is devoid of the attention he once received in his prime.
King struggles to balance her professional life — her dicey boycott of the U.S. Open based on its extreme gender pay gap — with her personal life — her extramarital affair with her female hairdresser, Marilyn (Andrea Riseborough). Meanwhile, Riggs is caught in a state of tedium through his desk job and strained marriage, and he finds thrill only through habitual gambling.
While King attempts to keep her sexual identity under wraps from intrusive media, Riggs, keenly watching King’s success, challenges her to a match with the intention of reclaiming his lost fame. This, of course, was the infamous “Battle of the Sexes,” which created a rapid and vast media frenzy and garnered the scrutiny of contentious fans across the globe.
The script, by Simon Beaufoy (“Slumdog Millionaire”), is remarkable in its portrayal of King’s and Riggs’ personal lives, with a strong focus on the tension in their relationships with their respective significant others — King with Marilyn and her husband Larry (Austin Stowell) and Riggs with his wife Priscilla (Elisabeth Shue). Not only do these relationships serve as the film’s primary source of drama, but they also allow Stone and Carell to deliver thoroughly complex and moving performances.
Stone, in particular, brings an extraordinary level of emotional depth in all aspects of her portrayal of King, from her undying passion for her sport to her ardent work on behalf of the women’s liberation movement, making King an easy protagonist to root for. Carell, on the other hand, effectively humanizes Riggs in all of his flagrant arrogance and misogyny. His actions are nonetheless inexcusable, but Carell’s performance sheds light on the personal insecurities that created the absurd, self-proclaimed chauvinist who wore an inflammatory yellow “Sugar Daddy” jacket to the televised match.
Besides Stone and Carell, “Battle of the Saxes” features a plethora of familiar faces in supporting roles, from Sarah Silverman as women’s tennis promoter Gladys Heldman to Alan Cumming as King’s uniform designer, Ted Tinling. Unfortunately, the film’s focus on its central duo leaves little room for character development in the periphery — besides King and Riggs, other characters come off as one-note and one-sided: feminist or chauvinist.
But part of the charm of the film is its pure simplicity, which aids in its unabashed celebration of King’s success story. “Battle of the Sexes” may have benefited from complex performances from the supporting cast, as well as a more mature and profound take on sexism in sports, but it’s hard to deny the appeal of the build-up to the illustrious showdown in the film’s climax. It’s a testament to the empowering story that helmed the film, that of an inspiring role model and her symbolic achievement for women — game, set, match.
Anagha Komaragiri covers film. Contact her at [email protected].
The dream team! Emma Stone, Paul McCartney and Alan Cumming sang show tunes together in New York City.
While enjoying a night on the town at Cumming’s new bar, Club Cumming, on Thursday, September 21, the Battle of the Sexes stars and the Beatles singer performed The Little Mermaid’s “Part of Your World” together for a crowd of 30 people.
Stars — They’re Just Like Us! “Emma Stone walked in with Paul McCartney and Billie Jean King,” who she portrays in her new film Battle of the Sexes. “People were really chill about it and didn’t whip out their phones and take pictures but everyone was really [excited] and surprised,” an onlooker at the hip NYC hotspot told Us Weekly. “[They] asked people not to record it, which everyone obliged.” Emma Stone’s Best Red Carpet Moments The eyewitness added that the Oscar winner chatted with fans after the show as McCartney showed off his moves while dancing with people on the floor! “Alan deejayed,” the source continued. “It was super surreal and bizarre!” Cumming later took to Instagram to revisit the fun moment. “Proving the ‘anything can happen’ mantra, last night at @clubcumming I sang ‘Part of Your World’ with Emma Stone and Paul McCartney backed us on harmonica,” the Good Wife alum caption a photo of himself, McCartney and Stone sharing a laugh onstage on Friday, September 22. “And that’s Jack Aronson on piano. Also revealing were Billie Jean King and her wife Ilana and Jake Shears! #clubcumming #yesreally.” Inside Us Weekly’s Most Stylish New Yorkers 2017 Party! The X2 star, who attended Us Weekly’s Stylish New Yorkers Party on Tuesday, September 12, at the Jane Ballroom at The Jane Hotel in NYC, told Us on the carpet that his fashion muses are those who “are just comfortable with themselves and they do daring thing.” Added the actor, “But it always feels like they want to do it — they’re not doing it because other people are pressuring them into.” Want stories like these delivered straight to your phone? Download the Us Weekly iPhone app now! For the latest celebrity entertainment, news and lifestyle videos, subscribe to Us Weekly’s YouTube Page.
“Emma Stone walked in with Paul McCartney and Billie Jean King,” who she portrays in her new film Battle of the Sexes. “People were really chill about it and didn’t whip out their phones and take pictures but everyone was really [excited] and surprised,” an onlooker at the hip NYC hotspot told Us Weekly. “[They] asked people not to record it, which everyone obliged.”
Emma Stone’s Best Red Carpet Moments The eyewitness added that the Oscar winner chatted with fans after the show as McCartney showed off his moves while dancing with people on the floor! “Alan deejayed,” the source continued. “It was super surreal and bizarre!” Cumming later took to Instagram to revisit the fun moment. “Proving the ‘anything can happen’ mantra, last night at @clubcumming I sang ‘Part of Your World’ with Emma Stone and Paul McCartney backed us on harmonica,” the Good Wife alum caption a photo of himself, McCartney and Stone sharing a laugh onstage on Friday, September 22. “And that’s Jack Aronson on piano. Also revealing were Billie Jean King and her wife Ilana and Jake Shears! #clubcumming #yesreally.” Inside Us Weekly’s Most Stylish New Yorkers 2017 Party! The X2 star, who attended Us Weekly’s Stylish New Yorkers Party on Tuesday, September 12, at the Jane Ballroom at The Jane Hotel in NYC, told Us on the carpet that his fashion muses are those who “are just comfortable with themselves and they do daring thing.” Added the actor, “But it always feels like they want to do it — they’re not doing it because other people are pressuring them into.” Want stories like these delivered straight to your phone? Download the Us Weekly iPhone app now! For the latest celebrity entertainment, news and lifestyle videos, subscribe to Us Weekly’s YouTube Page.
The eyewitness added that the Oscar winner chatted with fans after the show as McCartney showed off his moves while dancing with people on the floor! “Alan deejayed,” the source continued. “It was super surreal and bizarre!”
Cumming later took to Instagram to revisit the fun moment. “Proving the ‘anything can happen’ mantra, last night at @clubcumming I sang ‘Part of Your World’ with Emma Stone and Paul McCartney backed us on harmonica,” the Good Wife alum caption a photo of himself, McCartney and Stone sharing a laugh onstage on Friday, September 22. “And that’s Jack Aronson on piano. Also revealing were Billie Jean King and her wife Ilana and Jake Shears! #clubcumming #yesreally.”
Inside Us Weekly’s Most Stylish New Yorkers 2017 Party! The X2 star, who attended Us Weekly’s Stylish New Yorkers Party on Tuesday, September 12, at the Jane Ballroom at The Jane Hotel in NYC, told Us on the carpet that his fashion muses are those who “are just comfortable with themselves and they do daring thing.” Added the actor, “But it always feels like they want to do it — they’re not doing it because other people are pressuring them into.” Want stories like these delivered straight to your phone? Download the Us Weekly iPhone app now! For the latest celebrity entertainment, news and lifestyle videos, subscribe to Us Weekly’s YouTube Page.
Want stories like these delivered straight to your phone? Download the Us Weekly iPhone app now!
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Academy Award winning actress Emma Stone put in some serious work in preparing for her role as tennis legend Billie Jean King in Battle of the Sexes, which premieres today. The film follows the most watched televised sporting event of all time, the 1973 tennis match between women’s tennis star, Billie Jean King, and former Wimbledon champion, and then 55-year-old, Bobby Riggs. Before playing King on the court, however, Stone hit the gym with trainer Jason Walsh to build an unbelievable amount of muscle—15 pounds—for the role. Here, the Rise Nation founder breaks down the workouts and shakes responsible for achieving the impossible.
Generally speaking, what goes in to being a Hollywood trainer?
I’m a trainer in Hollywood, but I don’t like to be called a Hollywood trainer because I train a lot of people, not just actors. The only other difference, honestly, is that these guys are going to be looked at a viewed by millions of people. They get a lot of feedback that most people would never have to hear. That being said, we get to prep them and get them completely ready, both physically and mentally, for their roles. Most people don’t think about the mental aspect. What I really try to do is get them to feel 100 percent confident in their own skin. I also make them resilient. Emily Blunt for Edge of Tomorrow had to wear a 70-pound exoskeleton all day long, which is a lot. They’re actors not stunt men. Matt Damon does a lot of his own stunts, like the fighting. If their body isn’t sound, then these guys are going to get hurt. For the most part, the actors that I work with are major assets worth a lot of money. When they get hurt, production stops, and let me tell you, that’s a lot of money. I’m very proud of my clients. When I first meet them, I’m like, “Listen. This is not going to be easy.” We don’t cheat. We don’t use any enhancement drugs or anything like that. If I can’t get it done naturally, I just turn the job down. I don’t believe in that stuff and nor would I ever partake. So I tell them how long and arduous the process is going to be and if they’re up for it, I put them through it.
And with Emma Stone, she really had to work for the role of tennis player Billie Jean King.
She had to really had to work for the role. The good news was that she’d been training with me for a while, so she knew to a certain extent what she was getting herself into. Her body was very functional and she was very balanced and she had a great foundation to start from because I had trained her for La La Land. For Battle of the Sexes, she needed to be resilient and strong and mobile. Emma was very petite and so we needed to put some size on her, we needed to get her to into athletic shape in general. As far as the tennis focus, we did do a lot of shoulder strengthening; rotational, anti-rotational work, things like that because of the motion of and how the body works for her. Her legs are strong. Her butt was extremely strong which stabilizes the hips and helps with everything else. If you’re going to move like a tennis player you’ve got to have that foundation where you can move like that. What we did is we gave her the ability to do that without breaking down and getting injured.
Did you follow a functional fitness approach?
It kind of goes hand in hand. I think it’s an overused term. Outside of body building, most training is functional, or it should be. If it incorporates a lot of primitive movements like squatting, lunging, carrying, pushing, and pulling–it should be functional if it’s done correctly.
Did the training involve a lot of strength work?
Yes. Here’s the thing, most people equate strength training with heavy weights automatically with bulky muscle. There are ways of formulating the training that we can exploit strength training for methods beyond bulking up. For Emma, we really had to tinker with her calorie intake and diet, along with upping the amount of training that she did for Battle of the Sexes. When she trained for La La Land, we worked out three to four days a week. With Battle of the Sexes we did five days a week and sometimes two times a day. Between the increased frequency of workouts and addition of calories that were good, healthy calories, she stayed pretty lean.
Is it harder for women to put on muscle than it is for men?
Yes, it is absolutely harder for women to put on massive amounts of muscle. When women come in and I tell them that we will most likely have them doing pull ups they say, “There’s just absolutely no way.” And you know what, they actually have a really good point. Women’s bodies aren’t really made to do certain things. You don’t have a lot of upper body strength, but can we exploit and train the body to get to the point and teach it that that’s what we want it to do? Absolutely. You know what? Most of the women I train are doing exercises and things that are far beyond their mental reach as far as what they thought they can do. And that’s when it becomes really fun.
And so putting on 15 pounds of muscle, especially for someone as lean and fit as Emma, is a big deal.
It’s a huge deal. It’s a lot of consistency and properly stressing the body in the right way and creating an environment for chance. When I say creating an environment it’s, you know, putting enough of the right kind of calories in the body to give the body the ability to adapt properly. Hydration and soft tissue work is also key. You want to make sure that the wheels don’t fall off during the training. And that’s always a risk.
What types of quality calories that you reach for in building muscle?
We stay away from a lot of the simple sugar that she’s not going to need. We actually put quite a bit of good fat into the diet which is calorie laden and make sure that she’s getting a ranges of proteins and micronutrients as well. It’s so multilayered as far as diet goes. It’s never just one simple thing. What really helped us with Emma, was having some really good shakes because when you’re under that much stress, the kind of stress from lifting and pushing and pulling hundreds of pounds, the body’s metabolism naturally is going to skyrocket. People are like, “She’s insatiable. She can’t get enough food and she’s hungry all the time. She wakes up starving.” And that’s natural. She’s naturally going to want to increase the calorie intake, but sometimes it just becomes so mentally tough to actually eat a lot.
What I do is have people drink calories. And that means that we add in a couple shakes, and in those shakes it’s really easy for us to add a really high-quality protein that athletes use. It’s super clean and tastes really good. It’s called Metabolic Drive. If it doesn’t taste good most people are not going to drink it. It’s a really good tasting protein and then on top of that we put Udo’s oil, which is a super clean. Every cell in the body is made of lipids, or fats, so you’ve got to give the body the ability to recover. The brain is made out of fat. Fats are a good thing.
How long are these twice a day workouts?
On Monday, Tuesday, Thursday, Friday we would do two a days, and it would start with an hour in the morning with our complex heavy lifting. And then she’d come back in the afternoon and we would do much more of the isolation stuff where we would focus a little bit more on the aesthetic stuff. We would also do some conditioning, but I didn’t want her to necessarily do a ton of conditioning because she got a lot of that just from the lifting she was doing.
For guys who are reading this, could they use everything that you employed for Emma to build muscle as well?
Oh, my. Trust me. Emma was impressive in the gym, when new guys would come in and start training with us, they would literally just be in awe of the stuff that we were doing. Jaw dropped. She could run circles around them.
Related: Emma Stone and Billie Jean King Attended the U.S. Open Together
Watch: Emma Stone Proves Her Vocal Chops with “I Will Survive”
O filme mostra com leveza e simplicidade o lado feminino na luta dos negros pelos direitos civis.
Histórias Cruzadas (The Help) mostra o drama das empregadas negras nos Estados Unidos durante a conturbada luta pelos direitos civis em meados do século passado. No entanto, o faz trilhando um caminho dos mais intimistas, priorizando as questões pessoais das personagens em detrimento de eventos históricos e políticos que poderiam tornar mais épico – e menos próximo – o tom do filme (ou talvez essas duas abordagens sejam, essencialmente, a mesma coisa, como defenderam as feministas à época, com seu lema “Le personnel est politique”).
Assim, é de forma extremamente íntima – como na necessidade de um banheiro separado para as empregadas ou no carinho que essas ajudantes sentiam pelas crianças brancas que criavam -, que somos apresentados ao atrasado estado do Mississipi em 1962. Skeeter, personagem vivida por Emma Stone, é a única de suas amigas de colégio disposta a ver aquelas mulheres negras de forma igualitária. Seu sonho é ser escritora e ela encontra seu primeiro emprego na coluna de conselhos domésticos do jornal local, assunto sobre o qual nada sabe, aproximando-se assim de Abileen (Viola Davis).
Não demora para que ela tenha a ideia de revelar ao mundo como aquelas mulheres se sentem. Mas o único obstáculo para tanto são as próprias empregadas e seu medo de punição caso alguém descubra. Afinal, é na base da ameaça que os segredos das chefes brancas são mantidos. E quão detestáveis são as chefes! Bryce Dallas Howard consegue transmitir tanta maldade (inicialmente velada) com sua Hilly Holbrook que é inevitável se pegar na plateia torcendo contra ela.
Os momentos mais sofridos do filme são de Viola Davis, cujos depoimentos são contados em tom calmo e sofrido. Já Minny (Octavia Spencer) dá os toques cômicos que às vezes são quase exagerados, mas não falham em arrancar risadas da plateia. Este é um filme de mulheres e cada atriz soube entregar seu papel muito bem, com a dose certa de dramaticidade e humor (o espaço para os homens é tão limitado quanto a parede de Abileen: só Jesus Cristo e John F. Kennedy merecem destaque ao lado da foto do filho). O equilíbrio é tamanho que Histórias Cruzadas acerta em cheio em seu objetivo de entregar um feel good movie perfeito, fazendo chorar mas sem deprimir, relembrando um passado sombrio, mas sem levar a qualquer reflexão mais profunda.
O diretor e roteirista Tate Taylor soube extrair o melhor de seu elenco e também do best-seller de Kathryn Stockett. A trama se desenrola sem tropeços, prende e diverte. Muitos se surpreenderam quando The Help chegou ao primeiro lugar nas bilheterias dos EUA e lá ficou por três semanas seguidas (o que não acontecia desde A Origem), superando os blockbusters milionários do momento. No entanto, a verdadeira surpresa é que ainda exista o choque dos executivos quando um ótimo filme, com boas atrizes e orçamento adequado para seu roteiro e sem excessos megalomaníacos, encontre seu público com honestidade.
02/02/2012 – Carina Toledo
WASHINGTON — In 1973, tennis star Billie Jean King made history by defeating Bobby Riggs at the Houston Astrodome in a televised match viewed by an estimated 90 million people.
Now, two of Hollywood’s most beloved stars recreate the historic event in the new movie “Battle of the Sexes,” written by Oscar-winning screenwriter Simon Beaufoy (“Slumdog Millionaire”) and directed by Jonathan Dayton and Valerie Faris (“Little Miss Sunshine”).
The film opens with King (Emma Stone) arguing for equal pay for women athletes. When Jack Kramer (Bill Pullman) of the Association of Tennis Professionals balks at the idea – arguing that women don’t draw as much revenue — King boycotts the group and starts her own league with the founder of World Tennis magazine, Gladys Heldman (Sarah Silverman).
Meanwhile, Hall of Fame tennis vet Bobby Riggs (Steve Carell) feeds his gambling addiction by challenging female players to gender-clash matches. When the self-proclaimed “male chauvinist pig” challenges the feminist King to a “Battle of the Sexes” worth $100,000, King accepts the challenge, viewing it as a pivotal moment to score a victory for women’s rights.
The film is worth seeing for Stone’s performance alone, proving why she’s the defending Oscar champ for Best Actress. Her Billie Jean King is less mimicry than it is pure inhabitation, creating a living, breathing human behind those signature glasses. Here’s a person fighting two battles: a public struggle for women’s rights and a private struggle over her own sexuality.
Her acting chops are best on display in moments where she nervously welcomes flirtations from her hairdresser Marilyn (Andrea Riseborough). Fittingly, their first lesbian kiss comes bathed in blue light, a meta moment where “La La Land” enters the “Moonlight” (Best Picture harmony at last). It all builds to a poignant scene in the stadium tunnel where her gay uniform designer Ted Tinling (Alan Cumming) tells King, “One day we’ll be able to love who we want.”
Of course, King’s sexual awakening isn’t all sunshine and rainbows; we also see how it affects her spouse, like Anne Hathaway and Michelle Williams in “Brokeback Mountain” (2005). King’s devoted husband Larry (Austin Stowell, who recalls Robert Redford) is utterly sympathetic as he takes the high road after learning his wife is not only a lesbian but is also having an affair.
On the other side of the court, Carell is quite hilarious as the gambling addict Riggs, who puts the “racket” in tennis racket, though his web of wagers isn’t nearly as tight. I dare you not to laugh as he hides dinner-table bets from his wife Priscilla (Elisabeth Shue) and rallies a support group of fellow gamblers. After previously casting him in “Little Miss Sunshine,” it’s easy to see why the directors cast him again, albeit goofier than his previous suicidal uncle.
Oddly enough, Carell is a victim of his own success this time. He’s so damn likable as the antagonist that we feel like we’re watching a lovable moron rather than a sinister villain. The final match would feel more rousing if we despised Riggs. Instead, it feels like it’s all in good fun, which lowers the stakes of the climax. Perhaps this is unfair criticism; after all, Apollo Creed was a very likable opponent, but in Rocky’s case, viewers didn’t know the outcome.
Which brings us to the elephant on the court, an air of unfinished business. After King’s victory, there’s a cutaway to a fan poster reading, “King for President,” no doubt revenge for “bloody” comments during the 2016 election. Sadly, today’s chauvinists will cross their arms and say, “Of course a 29-year-old woman can beat a 55-year-old man! Let’s see Serena Williams beat Roger Federer!” If this is your takeaway, it says more about you than the movie.
Either way, “Battle of the Sexes” is an undeniably charming experience filled with well-acted performances, nostalgic archival footage (from Chris Evert to Howard Cosell) and catchy soundtrack tunes (from George Harrison’s “What Is Life” to Bobbie Gentry’s “Courtyard”). Best of all, the tennis action boasts impressive volleys that’ll make you ask: How did they do that?
As Elton John’s “Rocket Man” hits the soundtrack – like our president’s new nickname for a certain world leader – you’ll wonder how much has actually changed in the realm of macho bluster. Will true equality ever come? Pessimists might echo the lyrics, “I think it’s going to be a long, long time,” but with more movies like this, it could come sooner than you think.
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Emma Stone trained with a tennis coach to practice her strokes and get super-agile on the court for her role in the new movie Battle of the Sexes. But the workouts that transformed the actress’ body to resemble tennis great Billie Jean King had nothing to do with volleys, serves, and backhands.
Stone did tons of heavy lifting with Jason Walsh, a celebrity trainer and founder of Rise Nation in Los Angeles, for about three months before filming the movie, which tells the story of King’s historic 1973 match against male tennis champ Bobby Riggs.
So much, in fact, that the svelte actress packed 15 pounds of lean muscle onto her frame.
She was fresh off filming La La Land (Walsh whipped her into shape for that role too), so Stone was still rocking the sleek physique of a dancer. “Obviously that’s going to be a major change, going from dancer to one of the greatest tennis players of all time,” says Walsh. “I had to get her to look and feel the part.”
“My focus was to give Emma that athletic prowess and resiliency.”
To create the training plan, Walsh considered the mindset Stone would need to play King. “My focus was to give her that athletic prowess and resiliency and get her feeling comfortable in her own skin on the court. There’s nothing I like more than empowering women so they feel powerful and confident onscreen.”
The trainer had already established a foundation of movement with Stone while training for her Oscar-winning La La Land performance, so he didn’t have to work on the basics with her. They jumped right in and increased the volume and stress they were placing on her muscles. Five days a week, Stone worked with Walsh, sometimes knocking out two sessions daily leading up to filming. (Once the filming was under way, the pair tapered off to three weekly workouts for maintenance.) They’d focus on strength in the morning workouts—doing moves like pulling and pushing a heavy sled (they ramped up to 200 pounds!), lower-body exercises like squats and lunges, and weighted carries.
Walsh also added stability-challenging moves, like single-leg squats, because they pack lots of strengthening power. “It’s a common misconception that balance and stability are the same thing,” he says. Stability, which you need during single-leg moves, requires major strength in your core and in and around joints like your knees.
“Emma is a tiny woman,” Walsh says, “but she is strong as hell.”
For those two-a-days, Walsh took Stone through afternoon workouts targeting secondary, smaller muscles (to fine-tune her physique), and they’d have conditioning sessions using the VersaClimber (the intense vertical-climbing machine) at Rise Nation once or twice weekly. Stone also started eating more calories to help her body adapt to the rigorous training.
“In the beginning, with the increased volume, it was stressful and tough—most of the exercises were daunting,” says Walsh. But Stone adapted and pretty soon, it got more fun—and she got way strong: She worked up to deadlifting 185 pounds (which Walsh calls “insane”), hip thrusting 300 pounds, and doing single-leg squats with 80 to 90 pounds—further proof that lifting heavy doesn’t bulk you up.
“Emma is a tiny woman,” Walsh says, “but she is strong as hell.” Too late to add a fitspo category to this year’s Oscars?
Emma fans, these are for you: A guide to her La La Land sweat sessions, plus her advice on living with anxiety.
A firestorm ignited in 1973 when retired tennis pro Bobby Riggs, a hustler and gambler looking for new prey, challenged reigning tennis queen Billie Jean King to a match to prove that a female champ was far inferior to anyone on the men’s tour — even an old-timer in his mid-50s. She turned it down at first, but after he defeated one of her chief rivals, King took on what became a virtual circus of immense proportions covered on ABC and around the world. Now that era and time have been re-created in Battle of the Sexes, a terrific new film that isn’t just about that infamous match but also equal rights and pay for women as well as the sexual identity crisis King was going through at the time.
As I say in my video review (click the link above to watch), this movie is so much more than I expected as it digs a lot deeper and ends up not only as a real crowd-pleaser but also an illuminating look at one of the great athletes of all time, warts and all. It comes as no surprise that there is so much depth to the film since it is written by Oscar winner Simon Beaufoy (Slumdog Millionaire) and directed by the husband-and-wife team of Jonathan Dayton and Valerie Faris who among other things made Little Miss Sunshine such a total delight.
The story follows King (Emma Stone) as she struggles to win equal pay for players on the Virginia Slims circuit while also dealing with her own career and a marriage to devoted husband Larry that are threatened by an affair she is having with her hairdresser Marilyn (Andrea Riseborough). Meanwhile, Riggs (Steve Carell) is floundering, a former tennis powerhouse who now is resorting to low-level hustles and stunts. He comes up with the idea to challenge a top female pro and goes after King, who thinks the whole thing is a joke and turns him down. When he succeeds in cajoling her rival Margaret Court into a match, and defeating her, King has second thoughts and decides to take him up on the offer — knowing that the symbolism is so much more than just a cheap stunt. Anyone alive at the time knows the outcome, but it doesn’t really matter as the buildup and match itself are presented so suspensefully that you will be on the edge of your seat anyway.
RelatedEmma Stone Wows As Billie Jean King In ‘Battle Of The Sexes’ World Premiere – Telluride Stone is superb, capturing King’s natural athleticism and sexual confusion, ultimately resulting in an enormously powerful and touching performance, particularly in a scene where she is left alone in the locker room and lets all the emotion of a hard-fought match come pouring out. Although doubles are used in the tennis scenes, she and Carell make it look effortless. Carell is a hoot as Riggs, capturing his spirited romp into one last 15 minutes of fame. Riseborough is excellent as Marilyn, and there is great support from Sarah Silverman, Alan Cumming, Elisabeth Shue as Riggs’ wife and Bill Pullman as tennis great Jack Kramer, who is the heavy in the movie, portrayed as a man who simply could not take women seriously on the court and battled King in her fight for equal pay. This is one of the year’s best pictures. Producers are Danny Boyle (who was going to direct it at one time), Christian Colson and Robert Graf. Fox Searchlight releases on Friday. Do you plan to see Battle of the Sexes? Let us know what you think.
Stone is superb, capturing King’s natural athleticism and sexual confusion, ultimately resulting in an enormously powerful and touching performance, particularly in a scene where she is left alone in the locker room and lets all the emotion of a hard-fought match come pouring out. Although doubles are used in the tennis scenes, she and Carell make it look effortless. Carell is a hoot as Riggs, capturing his spirited romp into one last 15 minutes of fame. Riseborough is excellent as Marilyn, and there is great support from Sarah Silverman, Alan Cumming, Elisabeth Shue as Riggs’ wife and Bill Pullman as tennis great Jack Kramer, who is the heavy in the movie, portrayed as a man who simply could not take women seriously on the court and battled King in her fight for equal pay.
This is one of the year’s best pictures. Producers are Danny Boyle (who was going to direct it at one time), Christian Colson and Robert Graf. Fox Searchlight releases on Friday.
Do you plan to see Battle of the Sexes? Let us know what you think.
Two battles, not one, share the spotlight in the enjoyable and entertaining “Battle of the Sexes,” one you expect and one you do not. And it’s the unexpected one that makes all the difference.
The part that’s expected is the film’s front and center subject, the ostentatious 1973 tennis exhibition between women’s champion Billie Jean King and cheeky gadfly Bobby Riggs.
The event drew 30,000 to the Houston Astrodome, was viewed by the biggest TV audience since the moon landing and is now considered a landmark in gaining respect for women’s sports in general and women’s tennis in particular.
But with gifted and innately likable actors like Emma Stone and Steve Carell as the stars and an audience-friendly script by Simon Beaufoy (“Slumdog Millionaire”) as the starting point, “Battle” is most involving when it deals not with sports or society but the personal struggles both players, especially King, were going through in the run-up to the match.
For King, who considered herself happily married to Larry King (Austin Stowell), was having to deal with the romantic attentions of a free-spirited woman named Marilyn Barnett (Andrea Riseborough), attentions that made her unsure if her sexuality was as defined as she’d always thought.
Even Bobby Riggs is intentionally not portrayed as a one-dimensional caricature but rather a troubled man with issues of his own to work out with his unhappy wife, Priscilla (Elisabeth Shue).
“Battle” is directed with a sure hand by the skilled team of Valerie Faris and Jonathan Dayton, masters of well-made storytelling for adults whose work includes the breakout hit “Little Miss Sunshine” and the under-seen “Ruby Sparks.”
Faris and Dayton’s genial expertise is always welcome but especially here, and not only because the outcome of that tennis match is hardly going to keep audiences on the edge of their seats.
Rather it’s because spending time with unredeemed male chauvinists is not scintillating. More than that, even though it knows better, the film de facto encourages audiences to believe problems like these are gone from our society, which is definitely not the case.
“Battle of the Sexes” begins in 1972, with King coming into her own as the dominant force in women’s tennis. She’s just won the U.S. Open, become the first woman to top $100,000 in earnings, and even gotten a congratulatory phone call from fellow Californian President Richard Nixon.
But all is not well in tennis land. King’s friend and savvy business person Gladys Heldman (a shrewdly cast Sarah Silverman) shows her a press release announcing that women’s purses will continue to be a tiny fraction of men’s.
Both women see promoter and former men’s champion Jack Kramer (Bill Pullman in a thankless role) as the eminence grise behind this sexist manifesto, and they storm into the all-men’s private club he’s holed up in to confront him face to face.
To see and hear Kramer and his cronies utter inane defenses of income inequality (“men are more exciting to watch,” “men have families to support,” etc.), even if they’re historically accurate, is as dramatically tedious as it sounds, but fortunately “Battle” has more interesting cards to play.
For one thing, incensed by Kramer’s indifference, King and Heldman vow to give female players a league of their own, and soon enough the Virginia Slims tour, sponsored by the cigarette brand, gets off the ground with players like Rosie Casals (Natalie Morales) and the Australian Margaret Court (Jessica McNamee) doing battle along with King.
For another, former U.S. Open and Wimbledon champion Bobby Riggs enters the picture, watching on TV as King gets lots of attention and brooding that none of it is coming his way.
As impishly played by Carell, Riggs is soon revealed to be more scamp than committed chauvinist, an unrepentant hustler who will say or do anything for a bet, even playing while holding dogs on a leash. His “Battle of the Sexes” idea is a result of a desire to get some action and make some money, nothing more.
Though his gambling has placed so much strain on his marriage that he goes to a personal therapist and Gamblers Anonymous meetings, Riggs plays cards with his therapist and harangues his G.A. group, telling them that their problem is not that they gamble but that they’re no good at it. The word incorrigible does come to mind.
In preparation for a Virginia Slims press event, Heldman treats all the players to a hair salon visit, where King is ministered to by Barnett, who surprises the tennis player by telling her she’s pretty, a compliment she’s not used to hearing.
Barnett then shows up at one of King’s tournaments, asks her out and ends up in her room. All this may sound predictable, but as directed by Faris and Dayton and played by the gifted Riseborough and a thoroughly committed Stone, it’s done with so much feeling that a sense of privileged intimacy emerges as one of the film’s strengths.
While all this is going on, Riggs is wheeling and dealing, even talking Margaret Court into a match when King initially refuses him. But, as someone says, like it or not “fate is coming at her like a runaway train.” Rising to a challenge she never wanted will become one of the defining moments of Billie Jean King’s career.
‘Battle of the Sexes’
Rating: PG-13 for some sexual content and partial nudity
Running time: 2 hours, 1 minute
Playing: Selected theaters
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LOS ANGELES —
Emma Stone admits she’s never played sports, so when she was asked to play former world tennis No. 1 Billie Jean King in the movie Battle of the Sexes, the Oscar-winning actress approached it from a different direction: dancing.
King, by contrast, who pioneered the fight for equal pay in tennis more than 40 years ago, pictured herself in Stone’s position as she worked with the actress to portray her character.
“I tried to put myself in Emma’s shoes. That’s really taking a risk, portraying someone who is still alive. I’m like, ‘God, that’s a little pressure,’ ” King said.
Stone, 28, and the 73-year-old tennis legend became good friends while making the movie that tells the story behind King’s 1973 exhibition match against former men’s champion Bobby Riggs (portrayed by Steve Carell) to fight sexism in the sport and society at large. It opens in U.S. movie theaters on Friday.
Stone, who won an Oscar in February for song and dance musical La La Land, had never played tennis, so her early sessions with King focused on footwork and choreography.
“I danced, so footwork was good. [And] I had been on stage before, and when Billie Jean went out onto the tennis court, it felt like her stage, so she really keyed in on that,” Stone said.
Later came weeks of practice on serves and cross-court backhands, but for Stone, even the simplest things were tough.
“We went to the U.S. Open … and I was sitting next to Billie Jean, and Sloane Stephens was catching balls and tucking them in her skirt and bouncing them with the racquet.
“It’s just little in-between stuff, but that took me months to learn!” Stone said.
Professional players were hired to reproduce the shots in the match against Riggs, which was watched by more than 50 million on television.
For her part, King worked for weeks with screenwriter Simon Beaufoy recalling her experience in the early 1970s, when she not only established the breakaway Women’s Tennis Association and took on Riggs but also was wrestling with her own sexual identity. She came out as gay in 1981.
More than 40 years after beating Riggs, women are still fighting for equal pay and rights on and off the tennis court, not that it comes as any surprise to King.
“If you read history, you realize how slow progress is and that it’s each generation’s job to try and move the ball forward.
“We’ve come further, but we’ve a lot further to go,” King said.
Emma Stone is photographed on her way to “The Late Show with Stephen Colbert” on September 19th.
By Kristin Callahan/ACE Pictures/REX/Shutterstock.
Hillary Clinton and Emma Stone are both in the midst of lengthy press tours, Clinton for her book What Happened and Stone for her film Battle of the Sexes. Their paths converged on Tuesday night when both women appeared on The Late Show with Stephen Colbert; they were there to discuss their respective ventures, but Stone seemed to go out of her way to offer her support for Clinton’s highly discussed book. While arriving at the Ed Sullivan studio in New York, Stone was photographed wearing a strapless Ulyana Sergeenko dress covered by a black blazer and carrying the latest must-have accessory: a copy of Clinton’s What Happened.
The actress later told Stephen Colbert that she met Clinton backstage and the two took a photo together while holding up commemorative T-shirts of Stone’s Battle of the Sexes character/tennis icon Billie Jean King, but unfortunately, it came out looking a little . . . off.
“Can I also point something out beyond this very cool photo? I get a chance to meet Hillary Clinton, which is unfathomable and incredible, and I look like I’m nude,” said Stone. Colbert conceded that “it does look like you’re topless,” thanks to the shirt covering up Stone’s strapless dress.
“Really? You have one shot!” Stone said to herself before adding a defeated, “Whatever.”
Maybe Clinton will offer Stone a re-shoot as a thank-you to her for plugging a book that isn’t hers while she’s supposed to be promoting her own movie. It seems like a pretty fair trade.
She’s back in the Big Apple after a brief stint home in La La Land.
And Emma Stone had to adjust to the different climate as she was caught in a rain storm heading to the Late Show with Stephen Colbert on Tuesday.
The 28-year-old looked every inch the movie star as she donned a gorgeous pink and black floral print gown.
Big Apple blonde: Emma Stone, 28, was caught in a rain storm heading to the Late Show with Stephen Colbert on Tuesday
With her newly dyed blond hair, the Birdman alum looked exquisite traversing the slick sidewalks on her way to the talk show.
Her sweetheart silhouette couture gave a peek at her ample cleavage as she wrapped herself in a navy overcoat to keep dry.
As a helpful assistant covered her with an umbrella as the Oscar winner carried Hilary Clinton’s latest book What Happened.
Keeping dry: As a helpful assistant covered her with an umbrella as the Oscar winner carried Hilary Clinton’s latest book What Happened
Stunning: With her newly dyed blond hair, the Birdman alum looked exquisite traversing the slick sidewalks on her way to the talk show
Slippery sidewalk: Her sweetheart silhouette couture gave a peek at her ample cleavage as she wrapped herself in a navy overcoat to keep dry
The blonde beauty pared down her look as she left the studio sporting a blue blazer and matching silk slacks.
Underneath a navy pussybow blouse added a feminine touch.
Emma has been hard at work on a punishing promotional tour for her new film Battle Of The Sexes, as well as filming Netflix series Maniac in New York alongside co-star Jonah Hill.
Glamour exposed: Emma looked every inch the movie star as she donned a gorgeous pink and black floral print gown
Second act! The blonde beauty pared down her look as she left the studio sporting a blue blazer and matching silk slacks
In recent weeks, Emma has jetted between Colorado and Toronto to promote her new movie about the infamous mixed-gender tennis match between Bobby Riggs (played by Steve Carell) and Billie Jean King (Stone).
Stone attended a showing of the film at the Toronto International Film Festival on Sunday before jetting off to New York to catch her friend Jennifer Lawrence’s new flick mother! in New York on Wednesday.
Emma recently dethroned her friend as the highest paid actress in Hollywood, earning an estimated $26 million in the past 12 months, compared to Lawrence’s not-too-shabby $24 million.
Cat’s meow! Underneath a navy pussybow blouse added a feminine touch
Meanwhile, Maniac focuses on Jonah’s character who lives a fantasy life in his dreams, but is actually locked up in an institution. The talented twosome will both portray patients in the institution.
Directed by Cary Fukunaga, the dark comedy is based on the 2014 Norwegian series of the same name starring Espen Petrus Andersen Lervaag.
Battle Of The Sexes debuts Sept. 22 while Maniac’s 10 episodes will bow in 2018.
Fan favorite! Even though it was showering, Emma stopped for selfies with her fans
Close pals: The actress flew to New York to support pal Jennifer Lawrence, 27, at the premiere of her new movie, mother! on Wednesday night