Will Smith has signed up to play Richard Williams, the father of tennis champions Venus and Serena Williams.
The two-time Oscar nominee will be playing the man who guided two of the greatest female players in tennis history in a biopic titled King Richard. Deadline broke the news, reporting that the spec screenplay, which made the 2018 Black List, comes from Zach Baylin. No director has been announced as yet.
As per Variety, the film will “center on Richard Williams overcoming hardship, skepticism, controversy, and his own troubled past to instruct his daughters, starting when they were four years old on the tennis courts of Compton, Calif. — despite not having a background in tennis.”
It’s quite the story. When Venus and Serena were aged four, Richard drew up a 78-page plan for how their tennis careers would unfold. He would give them lessons on run-down courts in Compton, even reportedly brawling off those who didn’t want to make way. On the tennis side of things, it clearly all paid off. Venus has won seven Grand Slam titles and Serena is considered to be one of the greatest, if not the greatest, tennis players of all time, holding the most Grand Slam titles in singles, doubles, and mixed doubles combined among active players.
Smith will be producing the film via his Overbrook Entertainment banner alongside Star Thrower Entertainment’s Tim White and Trevor White (The Post, Wind River). Allan Mandelbaum and Caleeb Pinkett are on board as executive producers and Mary Solomon and Rick Rickertsen are attached as co-producers.
Smith will next be seen in Disney’s live-action Aladdin, where he’ll be going blue as Genie. He’s currently filming the third Bad Boys movie, Bad Boys for Life.