Photo by: Paul Harris / Contributor
“There are so many ways to tell this story,” Serena expresses in December 2021’s edition of Entertainment Weekly. “But I think telling it through my dad was the best way because he had the idea. He knew how to do it.”
Playing Richard Williams is the Hollywood heavy hitter, Will Smith. After an official promotional poster was shared on social media showing Smith will be playing the tennis legends’ father, there was some backlash.
Insecure star, Amanda Seales caught criticism after questioning why Smith was cast as Richard, as well as why the film told the sisters’ story through their father’s eyes.
The 23-time Grand Slam winner shares that when it came to training them, the 79-year-old trainer was ahead of his time and wanted to capture how much effort that he put into being their trainer.
“I guess the in through Richard appealed to me, because it’s the only way I could be involved,” Smith shares what drew him to the role as the feeling of patriarchy came through the project and felt familiar.
The 53-year-old further explains, “He reminds me a lot of my father,” the Philadelphia native continues. “It was that same generation — men that used to fix everything with their hands. I understood what it was like to live at the edge of survival and to try to sustain a dream.”
The patriarchal feeling wasn’t the only familiarity that The Men in Black star noticed in Richard. He also felt the familiarity of helping his daughters become their greatest selves.
“After my children were born, [I had] that same thing of trying to cultivate young, contributing humans,” he said. The Pursuit of Happiness actor and his wife Jada Pinkett-Smith faced years of criticism after having not preventing their children, Jaden, and Willow, from achieving their career aspirations at young ages.
The Seven-Pound actor shares that when trying to sculpt Willow into a successful Billboard-charting artist, he discovered that there’s only so much pushing he can do.
“Willow showed me the difference between how you would go at a boy and how you would go at a young woman going into the world of competition,” he explained.
“‘King Richard’ was just uniquely timed in my life,” expresses The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air star. “There was comprehension of all of the different angles that I have now over 50, that I wouldn’t have been able to even conceive at 40,” Smith added.
Without this self-realization, Smith might have had a different experience while identifying with the tennis trainer. The film is scheduled to premiere in theaters and on HBO Max on November 19th.
Tell us down below are you excited to watch King Richard? Do you think the story of the Williams story should’ve been told by their experiences?