Actors Who Went For The Win, Portraying Real Athletes In Some Legendary Roles

Culture | 10/6/20

When it comes to film, Hollywood is very good at telling stories that are based in fact. We’re talking about the good old-fashioned biopic here. And, in this case, we’re talking about those biopics based on the lives of professional athletes. But going from modern-day actor to professional athlete from years past can’t be easy.

Emma Stone had to channel her inner tennis pro in Battle of the Sexes, while Will Smith had to act like a three-time Heavyweight Champion of the World in Ali — neither character a small feat to embody. But these actors took on the challenge, becoming some of the world’s most notable professional athletes on film.

Emma Stone As The Battle Of The Sexes Winner Billie Jean King

Emma Stone As The Battle Of The Sexes Winner Billie Jean King
Fox Searchlight Pictures; Bettmann/Getty Images
Fox Searchlight Pictures; Bettmann/Getty Images

In the 2017 film Battle of the Sexes, actress Emma Stone took on the role of professional tennis player Billie Jean King, aka the lady who took Bobby Riggs down a few pegs. The film was loosely based on their 1973 tennis match, one Riggs sanctioned because “no woman could beat him.”

As history goes, King wound up winning the match along with the cash prize. So, when it came to giving Stone advice on how to play her, she wasn’t going to leave anything out. During an interview with ESPN, the Oscar-winner said, “I don’t think there was a moment when Billie Jean wasn’t explaining something to me.”