King Richard fits the mold for the biopic sports triumph drama that ensures we will get goosebumps in all the standard beats of the genre. It also promises to be one of those films that we watch again and again, not only for the moving story, but for performances that are benchmarks the actors have set for themselves. Will Smith as Richard Williams, taking every step necessary, for better or for worse, to see his daughters, Venus and Serena, astound the world just might be his (finally) Oscar-winning performance.
Co-star Dylan McDermott told Access Hollywood of King Richard, “This movie, by the way, is going to be phenomenal. The Williams sisters, I didn’t know the full story of what they went through and their father. I was just was like blown away! So, I really think that this is Will Smith’s chance at an Oscar ’cause this is a great role. It’s a great movie.” Told ya!
Warner Bros. describes the film as, “Based on the true story that will inspire the world, Warner Bros. Pictures’ King Richard follows the journey of Richard Williams, an undeterred father instrumental in raising two of the most extraordinarily gifted athletes of all time, who will end up changing the sport of tennis forever. Two-time Oscar nominee Will Smith (Ali, The Pursuit of Happyness, Bad Boys for Life) stars as Richard, under the direction of Reinaldo Marcus Green (Monsters and Men).
Driven by a clear vision of their future and using unconventional methods, Richard has a plan that will take Venus and Serena Williams from the streets of Compton, California to the global stage as legendary icons. The profoundly moving film shows the power of family, perseverance and unwavering belief as a means to achieve the impossible and impact the world.
Aunjanue Ellis (If Beale Street Could Talk, TV’s Quantico) plays the girls’ mom, Oracene ‘Brandi’ Williams, Saniyya Sidney (Hidden Figures, Fences) stars as Venus Williams, Demi Singleton (TV’s Godfather of Harlem) stars as Serena Williams, with Tony Goldwyn (the Divergent series, TV’s Scandal) as coach Paul Cohen and Jon Bernthal (The Many Saints of Newark, Ford v Ferrari) as coach Rick Macci. The ensemble also includes Andy Bean (IT Chapter Two), Kevin Dunn (the Transformers films, HBO’s Veep) and Craig Tate (Greyhound).
Green directed King Richard from a screenplay written by Zach Baylin. The producers were Tim White and Trevor White under their Star Thrower Entertainment banner, and Will Smith under his Westbrook banner. Isha Price, Serena Williams, Venus Williams, James Lassiter, Jada Pinkett Smith, Adam Merims, Lynn Harris, Allan Mandelbaum, Jon Mone and Peter Dodd served as the executive producers.
Will Smith announced the first trailer, saying, “One of the greatest honors as an actor is to be able to celebrate someone’s legacy while they’re still here creating it. I’ve gotten to do it a few times in my career playing Chris Gardner and Muhammad Ali, and every time it’s a fulfilling and expansive experience beyond compare. So now, I’m proud to show you all our first trailer for King Richard, the story of the man who introduced the world to Venus Williams and Serena Williams. The origin story for some REAL DEAL superheroes!!”
See it in theaters and streaming exclusively on HBO Max November 19.