'Battle Of The Sexes': How Will Emma Stone's Billie Jean King Portrayal Compare To These Biopic Performances?

For Emma Stone, ‘Battle Of The Sexes’ marks the first time she’s taken on the daunting task of playing a real person.

The film sees her portray Billie Jean King, and tells the story of the tennis player’s match against Bobby Riggs, which became one of the most-watched sporting events of all time back in 1973.

And while depicting a real, already-famous person comes with its plus sides – there’s more research material for a start – that doesn’t mean it’s easy, and many stars have fallen short with their portrayals of familiar faces.

Not everyone can end up an Oscar nominee, and unfortunately, many biopics end up lingering in the darkest depths of Netflix.

As ‘Battle Of The Sexes’ hits cinemas, take a look back at the good – and bad – from years gone by…

Jesse Eisenberg as Mark Zuckerberg in ‘The Social Network’ (2010)

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Facebook entrepreneur Mark may not have been impressed with the film, later claiming producers “just kind of made up a bunch of stuff” which he found “kind of hurtful”, but that didn’t stop ‘The Social Network’ from garnering critical acclaim and two Academy Awards.

Lindsay Lohan as Elizabeth Taylor in ‘Liz & Dick’ (2012)

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When you hear the words “Lindsay Lohan” and “Lifetime movie” in the same sentence, you pretty much know what you’re in for from the off.

What definitely didn’t help was the fact that less than a year after ‘Liz & Dick’ debuted, Helena Bonham Carter won plaudits for her portrayal of the same role in ‘Burton & Taylor’, but we reckon it’s still worth a watch if you’re ever stuck for something to do on a Sunday afternoon.

Michael Douglas as Liberace in ‘Behind The Candelabra’ (2013)

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The veteran Hollywood actor’s brilliant portrayal of the flamboyant American pianist quite rightly earned him a Best Actor Emmy, but not an Oscarm after US studios thought the story was “too gay” for a cinema release.

Michael Douglas said he would never have taken on such a role in the prime of his career, but the same couldn’t be said for his co-star Matt Damon.

The fact he signed up to play Liberace’s lover Scott Thorson – a role as far removed from Jason Bourne as you could probably get – didn’t go unchecked during Douglas’s brilliantly cheeky Emmys acceptance speech.

He told his co-star: “Matt, you’re only as good as your other hand. You’re magnificent, and the only reason I’m standing here is because of you. You really deserve half of this. So… you want the bottom or the top?”

Ashton Kutcher as Steve Jobs in ‘Jobs’ (2013) 

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Perhaps over ambitiously, ‘Jobs’ attempted to catalogue 30 years of the Apple founder’s life in just two hours and eight minutes, and while Ashton was an A-list casting choice, the film’s writers and director were relatively inexperienced.

“The Steve Jobs Kutcher plays in this movie isn’t a recognisable human being with sufferings and motivations and fears and desires,” wrote Slate critic, Dana Stevens. “He’s a PowerPoint presentation of a man.”

Ashton’s had many successes, but this is probably a project he’d rather forget.

Natalie Portman as Jackie Kennedy in ‘Jackie’ (2016)

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Told through flashbacks, ‘Jackie’ tells the story of the weeks that followed the assassination of President John F. Kennedy, with an unrelenting focus on the struggles the First Lady faced.

Natalie perfected Jackie’s distinctive, clipped accent for the role and was praised for performance, with some critics describing it as her “best in years”.

Robert Pattinson as Salvador Dali in ‘Little Ashes’ (2009) 

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Hm? You haven’t heard anything about when Rob played the Spanish artist in an indie film? Well, he’d probably like to keep it that way. 

The actor later revealed that making the movie made him want to leave the industry entirely. 

“I once decided to quit acting; it was when I did ‘Little Ashes’,he told a German magazine in 2011. “I played Salvador Dali and had to do a lot of scenes where I was naked, and I also had to masturbate. I mean really.” 

“A couple of days later” the ‘Twilight’ offer came through. 

Madonna as Eva Perón in ‘Evita’ (1996)

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Let’s be honest, Madonna is not exactly known for her contributions to the world of cinema, but she shocked everyone with her performance in ‘Evita’.

Despite taking a lot of heat when she was first cast in the role – and having to convince Andrew Lloyd Webber – the nine-time Razzie winner won critical acclaim for her performance in the musical, even bagging a Golden Globe when awards season rolled around that year.

Faye Dunaway as Joan Crawford in ‘Mommie Dearest’ (1981) 

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‘Mommie Dearest’ has gone down as one of the great camp classics, though we don’t think that’s what director Frank Perry or lead actress Faye Dunaway were aiming for with this adaptation of Christina Crawford’s memoir.

Faye has said in the past that she regrets her participation in the film, even if it did give us iconic lines like “don’t fuck with me fellas”, “bring me the axe” and the entire of the infamous “wire hangers” speech.

Eddie Redmayne as Stephen Hawking in ‘The Theory Of Everything’ (2015)

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Eddie was given an Academy Award for his outstanding portrayal of Stephen Hawking – triumphing over Benedict Cumberbatch, who played Alan Turing in ‘The Imitation Game’ – and in this case, the person who inspired the film also gave their blessing.

Well worth a mention too is Felicity Jones, who played the professor’s first wife, Jane, whose book the film was based on. While Jane wasn’t a public figure, Felicity’s star turn was overlooked when it came to awards in what was a seriously competitive year, though she did pick up a few nominations.

Nicole Kidman as Grace Kelly in ‘Grace Of Monaco’ (2014)

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“Beautiful shots but utterly vapid,” is Rotten Tomatoes’ description of this movie, alongside the utterly dismal 12% score. 

And while it is possible to put in a convincing performance in a film that is largely panned – Jennifer Lawrence in ‘mother!’, we’re looking at you – that sadly was not the case for Nicole. 

In their review, titled ‘Not Nicole’s Finest Hour’, the Guardian declared that the actress “spends most of the movie looking like someone who has just fallen flat on her face”. Ouch.

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