Steve Carell got heckled by extras for his bad tennis in 'Battle of the Sexes'

Ethan Alter
·Senior Writer, Yahoo Entertainment

Steve Carell isn’t a tennis pro, but he plays one in the new film Battle of the Sexes, a thrilling and surprisingly emotional dramatization of the notorious 1973 on-court bout between Billie Jean King (Emma Stone) and Bobby Riggs (Carell). And stepping into the shoes of a professional sports player means accepting some of the occasional downsides that come with it — like, say, getting heckled by professional sports fans. Chatting with Yahoo Entertainment, the Oscar-nominated Foxcatcher star revealed that, while shooting a tennis sequence in front of roughly a thousand extras, he got an earful from one particularly vocal observer. “I served like 20 serves and none of them went in,” Carell says, laughing. “Finally someone from the crowd said, ‘C’mon!'” (Watch our video interview above.)

To get in playing shape, both Stone and Carell were provided with coaches and trainers, and the La La Land star says she flourished under their watchful eyes. “I was so lucky that I was surrounded with that kind of support,” Stone remarks. It helped her avoid wilting under the pressure of putting on a good show for the audience, something that her male co-star couldn’t always claim. “I didn’t realize the pressure of actually playing in front of a thousand people,” Carell says. “That’s really scary! I don’t know how any professional athlete does that. You are on display and if you screw up, there are a lot of people who are witnessing that.” And they’re sure to let you know it too … even when your day job is actually “actor” and not “tennis pro.”

Watch Billie Jean King praise Emma Stone’s uncanny performance:

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