Will Smith often delivers some of his best acting work when tackling true stories, be it in Michael Mann’s “Ali” or Gabriele Muccino’s “The Pursuit of Happyness.” Both of these films earned Smith Oscar nominations for Best Actor. The next true-story drama for the actor is Warner Bros.’ biographical sports drama “King Richard,” in which Smith plays the father of tennis superstars Venus and Serena Williams. The film takes an intimate look at how Richard trained his young daughters to be world class athletes. “King Richard” marks the studio filmmaking debut of Reinaldo Marcus Green, an indie favorite after directorial efforts such as “Monsters and Men” and “Joe Bell.”
The official “King Richard” synopsis from Warner Bros. reads: “Based on the true story that will inspire the world, ‘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. 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. ‘King Richard’ is a profoundly moving film that shows the power of family, perseverance and unwavering belief as a means to achieve the impossible and impact the world.”
Starring alongside Smith is an ensemble cast that includes rising actresses Saniyya Sidney and Demi Singleton as Venus and Serena Williams, respectively. “When They See Us” and “Lovecraft Country” Emmy nominee Aunjanue Ellis stars as the Williams sisters’ mother, Oracene “Brandi” Williams. The cast also includes Jon Bernthal as coach Rick Macci, Tony Goldwyn as coach Paul Cohen, and Dylan McDermott as a sports agent.
Green wrote the “King Richard” script with Zach Baylin. Smith is also attached to “King Richard” as a producer through his Westbrook production banner. Serena Williams and Venus Williams are executive producers on the project.
Warner Bros. is opening “King Richard” in theaters and on streaming via HBO Max, starting November 19. Watch the official trailer for the biographical drama in the video below.