Saturday, November 25News That Matters

How a tennis player became a 'Battle of the Sexes' actress


Published 9:04 am, Sunday, October 1, 2017

LOUISVILLE, Ky. (AP) — She might be known as a two-time Kentucky tennis champ, but Lauren Kline now has a new title: Hollywood actress.

It’s kind of a funny story how the former North Oldham High School player ended up starring alongside A-listers Emma Stone and Steve Carell in “Battle of the Sexes.”

Kline was originally supposed to be the tennis-playing body double for Stone but ended up looking more like actress Jessica McNamee, who portrays tennis champ Margaret Court in the movie.

As filming rolled along, it turned out that the Louisville native became more than just an extra. She is in the movie a lot. In filming over a six-week period in 2016, she worked with Stone in almost every scene.

“She plays such a strong character (Billie Jean King), but (Stone is) also so strong as a woman,” Kline said.

Besides her work on the set as a tennis-playing body double, Kline also ended up portraying a different person — Nancy Richey, who was one of the “Original Nine” on the Virginia Slims Tour in 1970. She had to wear a wig and ’70s era bright clothing, which she said made her look like her mom.

“It was fun. I didn’t realize we looked alike,” Kline said of meeting the real Nancy Richey. “But when we met, I realized it was pretty spot on.”

Kline also has one scene with the hilarious Carell.

“We don’t have speaking lines that were written in a script,” Kline said in a previous interview with the Courier-Journal. “But we had to naturally speak and interact when we were watching matches or if we were at the airport or in other areas. It was a lot of natural acting, I guess they would call it.”

Vince Spadea, a former tennis pro who played Carell’s body double, taught her how to look authentic using a wooden racket. She watched a lot of old tennis matches on film.

“They wanted to make the tennis look really legit in the movie,” Kline said. “The tennis aspects haven’t always been that fantastic (in other movies). So we didn’t want that to happen.”

Kline also met the feminist role model Billie Jean King at the movie premiere in early September in Los Angeles.

“It was incredible,” she said. Kline even walked the green carpet with the rest of her co-stars.

“Battle of the Sexes” hit theaters on Friday.

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Information from: The Courier-Journal, http://www.courier-journal.com

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