Will Smith to Play Serena and Venus Williams’ Father in ‘King Richard’

Will Smith is on board to play the role of Richard Williams, the father of Serena and Venus Williams, in the upcoming indie film ‘King Richard’. The two-time Oscar nominee is set to appear in the film, whose script has been written by Zach Baylin. The story will likely center on how Richard overcame his own troubled past, with all the hardships, controversies and skepticism, in order to instruct his daughters. Deadline first reported this news. While no director has been selected to helm the project yet, expect Smith to have a say in the creative side of the film.

Most people know that Serena and Venus Williams, the sisters, are legends when it comes to tennis. However, many might not be aware of the role their father, Richard, played in driving the girls to their success. The man always demanded greatness from his daughters and would settle for nothing lesser than perfection. Naturally, he realized that his daughters were powerhouses of talent and developed this from the early age of four. He trained them for glory and for fame, waking his progeny up early so they could practice on the cracked courts in Compton. Undoubtedly, the success of Serena and Venus required a lot of tough love from their father, but Richard deserves some credit in having raised two of the greatest players to have ever graced the game. Presumably, the film will look at the trials and tribulations the father had to go through in disciplining his daughters and showing them equal portions of love and strictness to help them become legends.

Notably, when Serena won the US Open in 1999 and Venus bagged the Wimbledon in 2000, both of them were still teenagers. Over the course of their long and illustrious career, which has spanned for two decades now, Serena established herself as the Michael Jordan of tennis, having won 23 Grand Slam tournaments. Venus did not fare too badly either, having won seven Grand Slams herself. The sisters, together, have 14 Grand Slams doubles championships.

The film will be produced by Tim and Trevor White under the Star Thrower Entertainment banner, which has backed films like ‘Wind River’ and ‘Ingrid Goes West’. Will Smith is also on board as a producer under his Overbrook Entertainment company. The executive producers include Star Thrower Entertainment’s Allan Mandelbaum and Overbrook Entertainment’s Caleeb Pinkett. Rick Rickertsen and Mary Solomon are co-producing. It remains to be seen if the Williams sisters will themselves be involved in any capacity in the movie or even if they endorse Baylin’s portrayal of their father’s unorthodox training methods. Nonetheless, if they did lend their names, it would boost the credibility of the project.

Smith is currently shooting for ‘Bad Boys For Life’ along with Martin Lawrence. He is next supposed to appear in Ang Lee’s movie ‘Gemini Man’. Smith is an actor with great potential and he has shown it to us in films like ‘The Pursuit of Happyness‘ and ‘Ali’. It is refreshing to see him step out of big-budget movies like DC’s ‘Suicide Squad‘ and Netflix’s ‘Bright’, which have both been critically panned. Variety had exclusively reported last week on Smith’s decision not to play the super assassin Deadshot in the DCEU sequel film. His biggest upcoming film, where he plays the genie in Disney’s ‘Aladdin‘, does not seem to be too promising either. However, ‘King Richard’ shows a lot of potential as far as acting is concerned, at least on paper. This will give Smith the perfect opportunity to flex his acting talent and give us a performance that we will not be likely to forget soon.

Read More: Upcoming Will Smith Movies