King Richard Shoots for the Goal in its Star-Studded Production

Dante Belcher | Staff Writer

The highly anticipated film King Richard stars Oscar nominee Will Smith (“Ali,” “The Pursuit of Happyness,” “Bad Boys for Life”) as Richard Williams, the father of world-renowned tennis champions Serena and Venus Williams, who has a plan that will move Venus and Serena from Compton to the tennis world as certified legends on the playing field.

Their mother Oracene “Brandy” Williams is played by Aunjanue Ellis. Saniyya Sidney is playing the role of Venus Williams. Demi Singleton stars as Serena Williams.

Marcus Green directed King Richard and Zach Baylin wrote the screenplay. Isha Price, Serena Williams, Venus Williams, James Lassiter, Jada Pinkett Smith, Adam Merims, Lynn Harris, Allan Mandelbaum, Jon Mone, and Peter Dodd served as executive producers.

Will Smith sees the story of King Richard as “the impossible dream.” 

“For the most part, we all have impossible dreams,” said Smith at a panel on the movie. “We have things that we would do if we felt that they were possible, things we would do if we believed. At the core, this is about wanting to be the best versions of ourselves and sometimes, our circumstances may not line up with that, and it’s up to the strength of the human spirit to overpower circumstances. It’s wish fulfillment for all of us.” 

The film shows how they would practice on old and uncared for tennis courts in 1990s Los Angeles and would use old tennis balls and equipment in order to help them get to where they are today.

“They really understood our family and portrayed us in a way that was really us, and I’m really proud of that,” said Venus Williams about the making of the movie. 

Sidney recalled the challenge of having to train for the role. 

“In the beginning, it was pretty bad, just getting to know the sport,” she said. “Plus, I’m left-handed. It’s been a long process, but I look back at videos and see how far I’ve come.”  

Furthermore, Venus Williams also arrived on set and would give the young stars some tips. 

“She showed me exactly how to hit like her—how she breaks her wrist in her backhand, how she leaves her arm out in her forehand, her stance, the way she walks,” said Sidney. “I needed to learn all of that. With her there, it was so helpful. It was my job to learn that, but if I was ever confused, I asked, ‘What would Venus do here?’ And she was there to give me pointers, thank goodness!”KingRichard will be released in theaters and on HBO Max on November 19.


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