The upcoming film King Richard starring superstar Will Smith as the father of tennis greats Serena and Venus Williams has dropped a trailer, offering a preview of the emotional ups and downs of this long-awaited biopic.
Check out the King Richard trailer right here:
King Richard is based on the real-life story of the Williams family and some of the challenges they faced on and off the court before the tennis world began taking them seriously. As soon as the trailer begins we get a crystal clear view of the uphill battle Will Smith’s character Richard Williams and his wife Brandy fight raising their children. Williams returns from a night of training his daughters to find social services waiting because of accusations of abuse, and soon after we see Richard attacked by men on the tennis court. As the trailer unfolds we get a snapshot of what promises to be an inspiring story of Richard and his family scraping and clawing their way up in a sport overwhelmingly white and financially privileged.
Much of the public first became aware of Richard Williams’ fierce dedication to his daughters’ futures because of a viral video from the ’90s that made its way around Twitter and other social media sites in 2018, the year before Will Smith signed on to play Richard. The video shows the Williams patriarch interrupting a white reporter who is interviewing his daughter Venus and repeatedly questioning her confidence. Among other things, the protective father says, “You’re dealing with a little Black kid and her confidence… leave that alone.”
According to Elle‘s profile of Richard Williams, he had no passion for tennis until he read a story about Virginia Ruzici winning $40 thousand in a tennis tournament. As Will Smith says in the trailer, Richard wrote a 78-page plan about turning his future daughters into tennis champions. He taught both himself and his wife to play tennis, so that they in turn could teach Serena and Venus.
Along with Will Smith leading the film as the Williams family patriarch, Aunjanue Ellis will star as Richard’s wife and fellow coach Brandy, Saniyya Sidney will play the young Venus, and Demi Singleton will appear as the young Serena. Along with their parents, the Williams sisters will have other tennis mentors in the film including Jon Bernthal as Rick Macci and Tony Goldwyn as Paul Cohen. Liev Schreiber was originally set to play Cohen, but in October last year Deadline reported Goldwyn stepped into the role when Schreiber bowed out due to a scheduling conflict. Other cast members include Katrina Begin as tennis pioneer Anne Worcester and Judith Chapman as the late First Lady Nancy Reagan.
Deadline first broke the news of Will Smith’s casting in King Richard back in March 2019, while the star was busy shooting Bad Boys for Life. Three months later, the site reported King Richard was due to hit theaters in November 2020, but by the following April the news came that, like so many other projects, King Richard‘s original release date wouldn’t survive the COVID-19 pandemic.
King Richard will be released in theaters and available for streaming on HBO Max on Friday, November 19.