Will Smith is set to star as Richard Williams, father of Tennis greats Venus and Serena Williams, in the biopic King Richard.
This movie has become a hot-ticket item in Hollywood now that Smith is attached. The script was penned by Zach Baylin and it recently landed on the Black List, a list of the best unproduced screenplays in Hollywood. The project has now gained traction with one of the most recognizable movie stars on the planet set to do once again what, in the past, has proven to be what he does best.
Deadline broke the news about Smith’s involvement, and assuming this moves ahead, he’ll star as Richard Williams, a man with no tennis background who taught his two young daughters to become masters of the game:
When his daughters were around the age of four, Richard Williams drew up a 78-page plan for their professional tennis careers. He began giving them tennis lessons and the girls learned the game on cracked, weedy public courts in Compton, reportedly after their father brawled with young toughs who were not fans of the sport and would not make way.
King Richard will chronicle the life of Richard Williams, who overcame tremendous hardship and tons of obstacles to raise two of the greatest tennis players the game has ever seen. Richard Williams came up with a 78-page plan for the professional tennis careers of Venus Williams and Serena Williamswhen they were just four-years-old. He gave them tennis lessons and the girls learned the game on less-than-ideal courts in Compton. Venus and Serena went on to become two of the greatest, not just female players in tennis history, but overall. Serena has 23 Grand Slam tournament wins to her name, while Venus has seven.
Will Smith has played real people several times over the course of his career, including Muhammed Ali in Ali, Bennet Omalu in Concussion, Chris Gardner in The Pursuit of Happyness, a David Hampton-type in Six Degrees of Separation, and of course, as golf guru Bagger Vance in The Legend of Bagger Vance. (Only one of those is not a real biopic, and I’ll leave you to figure out which one.)
No director is attached to the project yet. Though, Will Smith will surely have a lot of say on that front. On the producer side, Smith will produce via his own Overbrook Entertainment, with Tim White and Trevor White on board via Star Thrower Entertainment. Smith is currently filming Bad Boys for Life alongside Martin Lawrence and will next be seen, in all of his blue glory, as Genie in Disney’s live-action Aladdin this summer.