Q3 2017

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34 CINEMONTAGE / Q3 2017 by Debra Kaufman portraits by Martin Cohen I n 1973, the tennis court became an unlikely showcase for the heated battle of feminists and their foes. Bobby Riggs, a top tennis player in the 1940s and showman extraordinaire, challenged top female tennis players to try to beat him on the court. Top-ranking Margaret Court took the challenge and lost, leading Billy Jean King — who had previously turned down Riggs' personal challenge — to step in and prove him wrong. Some 90 million people worldwide watched the match, held in the Houston Astrodome and billed as the "Battle of the Sexes." The event was more circus than tennis match, as both players were brought in ringed by scantily clad attendants and the combatants exchanged pointed gifts (Riggs, sponsored by Sugar Daddy candy company, gave King an oversized lollipop, while she presented him with a piglet). Now Battles of the Sexes, a Fox Searchlight picture directed by Jonathan Dayton and Valerie Faris, starring Emma Stone and Steve Carell, shot by Linus Sandgren and edited by Pamela Martin, ACE, opens through Fox Searchlight September 22. Supervising sound editors Mildred Iatrou and Ai-Ling Lee — who was also sound designer and one of its re- recording mixers (with Doug Hemphill, CAS) — had previously worked on the 2012 Hitchcock with Martin, who invited them to interview for the film. The sound editors, who enjoyed a great working relationship with Martin on Hitchcock, were also drawn to the film by a mutual appreciation of Dayton and Faris' previous films Little Miss Sunshine (2006) and Ruby Sparks (2012). "Battle of the Sexes is not just a sports film, but one filled with many intimate moments and complex characters," says Lee, who adds that she and her husband are also tennis fans. Having worked as a team on five features, most recently 2016's La La Land (which earned them an Oscar nomination for Best Sound Editing, as well as Best Sound Mixing for Lee), Iatrou and Lee read the script and began their research, including watching the original broadcast of the "Battle of the Sexes" event. "I was curious to see how the crowd reacted to the game, and how it built," Lee says. "It was very unlike traditional tennis crowds that were very polite, with none of the yelling or whistling I heard on the broadcast. Women were cheering more for Billie Jean and the men for Bobby." She took notes on some of the specific crowd noise, as fans called out to their favorite. "By the end, the audience became more vociferous and raucous as the match continued," offers Iatrou. "I was able to direct the loop group actors to do the same, and imitated some of the call-outs verbatim." Sound Supervising 'Battle of the Sexes' Ai-Ling Lee and Mildred Iatrou Battle of the Sexes. Fox Searchlight Pictures Opposite: Ai-Ling Lee, left, and Mildred Iatrou on a sound stage at 20th Century Fox Studios.

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