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A&E Film Fest SCAD

Andrea Riseborough shares her real life experiences with ‘Battle of the Sexes’ themes

District Staff

Written by Georgia Micheals

On Sunday afternoon, Trustees Theater showed “Battle of the Sexes” starring notable actors Emma Stone and Steve Carell. After the film, co-star Andrea Riseborough and Outstanding Supporting Actress Award winner walked out onto the stage to talk about her role as Marilyn Barnett and her strong connection with the film.

The question and answer session began with a discussion about Riseborough and Stone’s previous movie together, 2014’s “Birdman.” The pair didn’t have any scenes together, but Riseborough said, “we had many cups of tea together, we just spent a lot of time…becoming friends.” She talked about how it was good to become friends gradually and develop a strong bond that was necessary in filming “Battle of the Sexes.”

Riseborough was then asked how she adopted the vintage, 70s vibe of the period film. She explained how many people ask if she’s ‘amazed’ by ‘how much has changed,’ and said she always responds by asking back, “other than legislation, what has changed?” Riseborough, who is a known equal rights activist, references the film’s commentary on misogyny and gay rights; in “Battle of the Sexes,” (and in it’s historical counterpart) Riseborough’s character, Marilyn, is Billie Jean King’s lover.

Riseborough added that the camera used to film “Battle of the Sexes,” and the amount polyester involved in the movie, helped her get into the 70s mindset.

From here, the conversation transitioned to the topic of women in the film industry. Riseborough said both of the film’s directors, Jonathan Dayton and Valerie Faris, found it very important to have a lot of women on set. “Sometimes it can feel terminally lonely as a woman in film,” she said, “but [“Battle of the Sexes”] was not that experience.”

Riseborough also discussed her own all-woman production company, Mother Sucker, and said, “we need to readjust the boundaries of [the industry] and…give more opportunities to women.”

Finally, the conversation turned to “friendly sexism” within sports, sportscasting and life in general, which was an underlying theme in the film. Riseborough said she often catches herself patronizing other women – and that she assumes all women can relate to that feeling – when she feels like she is in competition with another woman.

She talked about getting patronized in everyday life, and how a daily occurance such as getting out of a taxi, can turn into a misogynistic experience. “I like to say it’s a vagina, not a lobotomy,” Riseborough said.

To learn more about Riseborough’s acting process, check out our red carpet interview with the Outstanding Supporting Actress Honoree.


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