Will Smith Will Play Venus And Serena Williams’ Dad In New 'King Richard' Film
When it comes to tennis and the greats that have taken to the court, none have dominated the sport quite like the Williams sisters. Venus and Serena Williams have become synonymous with the game – and rightly so. Venus has won seven Grand Slams whilst Serena has amassed a staggering 23 Grand Slam titles.
For anyone that’s witnessed the sisters play, the experience can only be likened to a religious experience. The ease at which Serena glides her way to the finals and takes out the grand prize has the ability to undermine just how extraordinary a feat this really is – something that has seen her name often bandied about alongside Federer and Djokovic, with many claiming her to be the best ever.
Having captured the admiration of fans worldwide with careers that few could dream of, it was only a matter of time before their reality provided a blueprint for Hollywood. And naturally, when it came to the script, one couldn’t look past their enigmatic father, Richard Williams.
As Variety reports, Will Smith will play the sisters’ father in King Richard, a spec script by Zach Baylin. The film will detail Richard Williams’ ability to overcome hardship, scepticism, controversy and his own troubled past to instruct his daughters in tennis, despite not having a background in the sport himself.
Whilst the Williams sisters are regarded as two of the greatest players ever to play the game, it was Richard who started his daughters on a path to success starting when they were four years old and practising on the weedy, cracked public courts in Compton. It’s reported that their father brawled with young toughs who weren’t fans of tennis and refused to make way for the girls’ training. Even at their young age, Richard drew up a 78-page plan for the girls’ professional tennis careers.
The big break for the sisters came after Serena won the US Open in 1999 and Venus later beat Lindsay Davenport to win the 2000 Wimbledon title. It was after that victory that Richard shouted, “Straight Outta Compton!” (in reference to the NWA song) and jumped over the NBC broadcasting booth. Chris Evert said the broadcasters “thought the roof was coming down.”
The film will be produced by Tim White and Trevor White under their Star Thrower Entertainment banner, alongside Smith and his Overbrook Entertainment banner. Allan Mandelbaum and Caleeb Pinkett are executive producers and Mary Solomon and Rick Rickersten are co-producers.
The announcement comes after Smith stepped down from reprising his role in the Suicide Squad sequel. He will next be seen starring in Aladdin for Disney, while he is now currently shooting Bad Boys For Life. Smith is yet to set his next film, but it’s clear that this is something he’s passionate about which could see it happen rather quickly.