A ‘Battle of the Sexes’ Rages On, More Than 4 Decades Later

A ‘Battle of the Sexes’ Rages On, More Than 4 Decades Later

- in Tennis
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That, however, was before the director of a prestigious tennis tournament declared that professional women players “ride on the coattails of the men”; John McEnroe sparked a social media firestorm by claiming that Serena Williams would rank 700th if she played on the men’s circuit; and the boorish behavior toward women of the Republican presidential candidate became a lighting rod in a nasty campaign.

“Well, I hoped the movie would reignite the debate,” said the film’s screenwriter, Simon Beaufoy. “But since we started making it, the debate has reignited itself.”

Mr. Beaufoy, an Oscar winner for writing “Slumdog Millionaire,” was recruited to the project by two longtime collaborators, the director Danny Boyle and the producer Christian Colson. Mr. Boyle (“127 Hours,” “Trainspotting”) was set to direct but had to withdraw from directing when the sequel to “Trainspotting” suddenly came together with a tight window to get it made. (He remains a producer.)

Photo

Billie Jean King and Bobby Riggs in 1973.

Credit
Anthony Camerano/Associated Press

The…