Emma Stone honed dance skills to play tennis great Billie Jean King

Cast members Emma Stone and Steve Carell pose with former tennis player Billie Jean King at the premiere for ‘Battle of the Sexes’ in Los Angeles California

Stone, who could now see herself up for another Oscar nomination 12 months after winning her first, is brilliant as King although some of her best scenes were the always excellent British actress Andrea Riseborough as her lover Marilyn Barnett.

So rather than serving up a sprawling account of King's life, the husband-and-wife team behind Oscar-winning indie charmer "Little Miss Sunshine" chose to focus on a time of great public and private significance for the legendary athlete in "Battle of the Sexes", which opens Friday.

"I still have anxiety to this day", she told Colbert.

Stone's fight with anxiety resulted in her starting therapy at just 7-years-old but it was acting and improv she says that helped her get through it all.

"I get a chance to meet Hillary Clinton, which is unfathomable and incredible, and I look like I'm nude", she said to Colbert. "I'd seen him talk about everything but tennis, so being the expert on tennis and what was going on strategy-wise and knowing Billie Jean as I did, it was very hard to really feel comfortable with him". Carell, too, turns Riggs into a surprisingly sympathetic figure - a Peter Pan type, desperate to find some way to avoid wearing a tie and toiling away for his father-in-law's company.

BATTLE OF THE SEXES opens in theaters on September 29.

Later came weeks of practice on serves and cross-court backhands, but for Stone, even the simplest things were tough.

Casals thought it was important then, too, and still thinks so. The self-portrait shows Emma standing next to a small green monster underneath the words, "I'm bigger than my anxiety". "You can't duplicate the '70s, what we were fighting for and the history that came from that, what women's tennis became".

Casals said it was a "funny feeling" watching actors portray and her and her contemporaries, and having creative license taken with some real-life events.



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