The trailer for the long-awaited Richard Williams biopic, father of Venus and Serena Williams has dropped, and Will Smith is already attracting praise for his portrayal of “King Richard”.

Oscar pundits, theatre goers and social media influencers alike are creating a collective buzz around the feature length King Richard film which tells the story of the man behind two of the greatest tennis players of all time – Venus and Serena Williams.

Due out in November, the 2.35 minutes-long trailer starring Will Smith shows the actor effortlessly adopting the real-life Richard Williams’ signature style of bracing honesty and street slang.

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Known for his uncompromising upbringing of all the Williams’ children, racism and social ostracism was no match for his determination to mould his children into personalities who would change the world. Lines in the trailer like: “I wrote me a 78-page plan for their whole career before they was even born” gives viewers some insight into Williams’ foresight and plans to coach, mentor and educate his children out of the legendary Compton neighbourhood in California; quite literally the opposite side of the tracks from traditional tennis players

American day time talk show host Tamron Hall admitted on twitter that just the trailer moved her to tears.  Others are already calling it a strong Oscar contender.

Members of the entertainment press have highlighted Smith’s previous Oscar nominations for biopics like Ali and hinted that King Richard might create a hattrick, or something more.

Even more exciting is that the authenticity of the biopic is almost assured: The real Venus and Serena Williams worked alongside their sister Isha Price to executive produce the movie, while Jada Pinkett Smith (Will’s wife) also serves as one of the executive producers.

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Aunjanue Ellis (If Beale Street Could Talk, Lovecraft Country) plays the girls’ mum, Oracene “Brandi” Williams, Saniyya Sidney (Hidden Figures, Fences) stars as Venus Williams and Demi Singleton (TV’s Godfather of Harlem) stars as Serena Williams.

King Richard
King Richard movie still
Image credit: Warner Bros. Entertainment Inc

Some viewers of the trailer are speculating on whether one of the most memorable Richard Williams moments will be captured in the film.  The moment when a reporter’s inappropriate question ran afoul of Williams’ fiercely protective nature.

Viewers are also no doubt keen to see how the movie handles the sisters being taught what their father calls the “Williams Life Triangle,” aka the three key principles they needed to succeed in life: commitment, confidence and courage.  Having mentioned this in his book “Black and White: The Way I See It” will be a further insight into how he coached Venus and Serena not just in tennis, but in life.

The book also revealed that it wasn’t just the children who sacrificed to gain their current success.  Richard Williams literally put his life on the line so his daughters could practice. In order to get his daughters practice time at their local tennis court in Compton, California, Richard would have to physically fight off gang members and drug dealers – resulting in him having his nose, fingers and jaw broken, as well as losing 10 of his teeth.  Two years in, however, Richard took it upon himself to confront one of the gang leaders… and he won. Talk about practicing what you preach!

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Directed by Reinaldo Marcus Green, King Richard marks Smith’s first major release since the 2020 sequel Bad Boys for Life.

Early reactions to the trailer scream Oscar winning tearjerker and suddenly 19 November seems a long time to wait to see if King Richard lives up to the hype.

 


Watch the trailer of King Richard below:


This article was written by Katrina Marshall

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