By Oreoritse Tariemi
15 November 2021 |
Will Smith plays Venus and Serena William’s father in the Oscar-tipped King Richard which follows the rise to stardom of two of the world’s biggest tennis players. King Richard follows Venus and Serena Williams as they rise to fame from training on crumbling, gang-riddled Compton tennis courts to becoming sporting greats. The Warner Bros film King…
Will Smith plays Venus and Serena William’s father in the Oscar-tipped King Richard which follows the rise to stardom of two of the world’s biggest tennis players.
King Richard follows Venus and Serena Williams as they rise to fame from training on crumbling, gang-riddled Compton tennis courts to becoming sporting greats.
The Warner Bros film King Richard stars Will Smith heavily tipped to win his first Oscar for Best Actor playing the duos larger-than-life father, coach and manager.
Smith revealed that he “fell in love with Richard Williams” two decades ago while watching him leap to 14-year-old daughter Venus’ defence in an interview with an overly insistent journalist.
“The look on Venus’ face… the image burned in my heart”, Smith said at the conference. “Because that’s how I wanted my daughter to look when I showed up,” he continued.
“I knew I wanted to show a father protecting a daughter like that to the world.”
For Smith watching Richard Willams protect his daughters all those years ago helped shape his performance. “It was like Venus had a lion. And she was so confident and so comfortable that her lion wasn’t going to let anything happen to her.”
King Richard had its Los Angeles premiere on Sunday during the AFI Fest. The movie focuses on how the Williams’ tight-knit family in an impoverished, mostly black neighbourhood of Los Angeles shaped their success. It follows Richard’s efforts to find his daughters a professional coach at snooty California tennis clubs and how he was initially met with rejection, ridicule and racism.
Richard Williams, a self-taught coach, is famous for his 78-page plan to make Venus and Serena the top tennis players in the world before they were born. Richard Williams had written down this plan after learning about the lucrative prize money the game offers.
Venus, who has seven Grand Slam titles, occupies more of the screen time, having paved the way with early wins at junior tournaments for her 23 Grand Slam titles winning junior sister Serena.
Ï love that Venus opened doors and her sister just went through,” Saniyya Sidney, who plays Venus, told AFP.
“She’s so humble, she doesn’t even look at the status or who’s bigger… being given this opportunity to show the world exactly what Venus did is so, so important.”
“Growing up seeing girls that look like me are in a sport that is predominantly a white sport… means so much to me,” Sidney said.
While Venus and Serena are involved in the film, Richard did not participate.