Will Smith wanted to ‘honour’ Serena and Venus Williams in ‘King Richard’

Actor and sisters open up about the biopic in new episode of ‘Red Table Talk’

17 November 2021 - 09:32
By Khanyisile Ngcobo
Demi Singleton, Serena Williams, Will Smith, Saniyya Sidney, Venus Williams and Jon Bernthal attend a screening of 'King Richard'.
Image: Ringo Chiu/Reuters Demi Singleton, Serena Williams, Will Smith, Saniyya Sidney, Venus Williams and Jon Bernthal attend a screening of 'King Richard'.

US actor Will Smith and tennis icons Venus and Serena Williams have opened up about the upcoming King Richard film, with Smith revealing he took the role of Richard Williams to “honour” the sisters and their family.

Smith plays the Williams patriarch in the biopic, which details how the Williams sisters reached the heights of sporting fame from a hardscrabble neighbourhood in Los Angeles, all under the guidance of their father.

Williams was coach, dad and promoter of the girls, training with them on broken-down public courts in 1990s South Los Angeles, collecting discarded balls, and battling derision and scepticism to get them attention.

In a new clip shared on an upcoming Red Table Talk episode, a Facebook show hosted by Smith’s wife, daughter and mother-in-law, the actor and tennis legends shared their feelings on why it was important to tell their story.

Will Smith is taking over the Red Table with tennis legends Venus and Serena Williams, and opens up about the daunting...

Posted by Red Table Talk on Tuesday, November 16, 2021

Serena confessed their story was a “complicated one to tell” and they wanted it to be one they “would be proud of”.

The sisters praised Smith for how he tackled the role of Richard, saying he did a “beautiful job” before asking for his thoughts about the project.

“I wanted to honour the two of you and honour your family in a way that would resonate with your hearts forever. It is such a daunting task. What you guys represent in the world and what you’ve created and when you make a movie, it’s like you take a snapshot that will last forever and y you don’t want to take a terrible picture,” Smith shared to much approval.

In an earlier clip, Serena spoke about her mother’s strength in supporting the entire household when her father decided to quit his job and focus on training the sisters full-time.

“To have that faith and that back end support, we wouldn’t have survived without that,” she revealed in the presence of her mother Oracene Price and members of her family. 

In another interview Venus shared her feelings about watching the film, saying she became emotional.

“Just like watery eyes, and the moment, the family moments of togetherness and the father-daughter moments are like, ooh.”

— Additional reporting by Reuters