See Emma Stone, Steve Carell face off on tennis court in 'Battle of the Sexes' sneak peak

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Wednesday May 10th, 2017

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Game, set, match!

Emma Stone and Steve Carell go head-to-head on the tennis court in their upcoming film Battle of the Sexes—and PEOPLE has an exclusive first look.

The film follows the legendary 1973 tennis match between Billie Jean King (Stone) and Bobby Riggs (Carell). The face-off became the most-watched televised sports event of all time, and was nicknamed the Battle of the Sexes.

“This was a really important and serious time in the women’s liberation movement, and it was one of the first times that a political issue was acted out in the circus-like atmosphere,” co-director Jonathon Dayton tells PEOPLE. “It just felt incredibly relevant to today’s time.”

To prepare for the role, both Carell and Stone spent months training on the tennis court.

“Steve has a tennis court in his backyard and he practiced with Riggs’ trainer,” says co-director Valerie Faris. “He told us he’s never worked this long for a movie.”

And while Stone didn’t have a tennis background, she was more than happy to dive into the world of a famous athlete.

Mailbag: The economics of tennis and why the sport loses out on young athletes

“Emma trained like an action hero,” says Dayton.

They say the actress gained 15 lbs. of muscle by hitting the gym and doing push-ups on-set.

“She felt so much responsibility to Billie Jean,” says Faris.

Battle of the Sexes bounces into theaters Sept. 22.

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