Will Smith already sounds like the head of the series for the next Oscars with ‘King Richard’, a film about the unusual story of the father of tennis players Venus and Serena Williams and signed by Latin director Reinaldo Marcus Green.
There is still a long way to go before the nominations for the Hollywood Academy Awards are announced, but Smith, who was already a candidate – without a statuette – for “Ali” (2001) and “The Pursuit of Happyness” (2006), appears in all the pools as best actor.
“King Richard” opens this Friday in the US in cinemas and HBO Max and delves into the figure of Richard Williams, the father of the Williams sisters and who, being very young, designed an ambitious and surprising plan for them to achieve the top of tennis since its humble and dangerous origins in Compton (Los Angeles, USA).
Combining drama with light comedy and sports epic details, “King Richard” features Aunjanue Ellis, Jon Bernthal, Saniyya Sidney and Demi Singleton in its terrific cast alongside a dedicated Will Smith.
“It was an opportunity to show a side of the Williams family that we did not know,” said Reinaldo Marcus Green in a video call with Efe.
“We know that Venus and Serena are two of the best athletes in history. But what else? How did they get there? ”Added the American filmmaker of Puerto Rican origin about a film that has the two tennis players as producers.
“King Richard” shows a father who is absolutely convinced of his daughters’ talent with the racket and who is not willing to let anything or anyone get in the way.
To begin with, the Williamses have to make their way into a sport that in the 90s was typical of rich white families, so the film uses this story to address issues such as inequality and racial discrimination in the United States.
Green argued that Richard Williams was first and foremost a father who loved his daughters and who ‘spent countless hours’ of his time accompanying them on the tennis courts.
“That doesn’t detract from the fact that he was eccentric at times, unorthodox, and did things that some people might find controversial,” he admitted.
Green, a director who is gaining weight in Hollywood after films like “Monsters and Men” (2018) and who is preparing a biopic about Bob Marley, insisted that “King Richard” has a more optimistic than defeatist soul.
“It focuses on black joy and black excellence. The Williamses saw these challenges in their life as opportunities, “he said.
“The sisters thought, ‘If I grew up in Compton, I can succeed anywhere.’ They used it as a fortress, they used it in their game as tennis players, they used it as an advantage. They didn’t feel sorry for themselves at all. They really embraced where they are from and I love that ”, explained the filmmaker, mentioning that his origin is similar since he was a black and Puerto Rican boy in the Bronx of New York (USA).
A LEBRON JAMES FROM THE CINEMA
Although Green’s true sports passion is baseball and ‘King Richard’ revolves around tennis, the director used an NBA metaphor to describe Will Smith’s role as an actor and producer on this film.
‘I would compare him to LeBron James, who can not only dunk and score 40 points but can also pass the ball. And seeing him pass the ball to Will in this movie is as exciting as seeing him slam dunk, ‘he said.
The director thus referred to Smith’s ‘generosity’ and said that, for example, the actor did not leave as soon as he finished his takes but stayed on set to help and lend a hand in whatever was needed.
Regardless, Green praised Smith’s passion and commitment to his character, calling him an ‘incredible’ actor, and praising his ability to play a ‘complicated’ and unpredictable role, as Richard Williams was sometimes great and other he seemed foolish.
“I couldn’t have asked for a better collaborator than Will. He is a true gentleman ”, concluded the director. EFE
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