Entertainment Movies See Emma Stone and Steve Carell Ace '70s Tennis Style in New 'Battle of the Sexes' Sneak Peek To prepare for the role, both Steve Carell and Emma Stone spent months training on the tennis court By Jodi Guglielmi Jodi Guglielmi Instagram Twitter Writer-Reporter, PEOPLE People Editorial Guidelines Published on May 10, 2017 08:00 AM Share Tweet Pin Email 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 one of the most-watched televised sports events of all time, and was nicknamed the battle of the sexes. Melinda Sue Gordon/Twentieth Century Fox “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.” Melinda Sue Gordon/Twentieth Century Fox To prepare for the role, both Carell and Stone spent months training on the tennis court. “Steve 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. Melinda Sue Gordon/Twentieth Century Fox “Emma trained like an action hero,” says Dayton. RELATED VIDEO: 23 Oscar Nominees Reveal The Untold Stories Behind Their Films 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.