will ferrell battle of the sexesWill Ferrell is trading comedy for drama: The "Anchorman 2" star is set to take the male lead in a film about the famous battle of the sexes tennis match between Billie Jean King and Bobby Riggs.

Variety reports that Ferrell will play Riggs, the loud-mouthed, 55-year-old tennis star who came out of retirement to play 29-year-old up-and-comer King, claiming that he could beat the woman precisely because she was female. The 1973 match was a huge television event, and King prevailed, silencing Riggs and other male critics worldwide.

Ferrell is no stranger to sports both on and off the big screen; he's played a figure skater in "Blades of Glory," and soccer and basketball players in "Kicking and Screaming" and "Semi-Pro," and is a big fan of USC football and the Los Angeles Lakers. It was precisely Ferrell's love of sports, and tennis in particular, that led producer Peter Chernin to pursue him for the part of Riggs, Variety reports.

The film, called "Match Maker," will be based on a 2013 ESPN article by Don Van Natta Jr.called "The Match Maker: Bobby Riggs, the Mafia and the Battle of the Sexes." Steve Conrad will write the script; it's unclear if he will also direct, since he's currently at work helming the John Belushi biopic with Emile Hirsche.

Stay tuned for more developments.

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categories Movies