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.
According to a new report, various studios in town have been reading the King Richard script now that Will Smith is on board. As such, we could see some sort of competitive bidding situation between the major studios here shortly. At present, there are no specific studios mentioned, but it's safe to assume that Warner Bros., Universal, Paramount, Sony and the big guys are in the mix. Fox would be in doubt, given that the Disney merger is expected to close any day now. As for Disney, they could be in the mix as well, but they have their hands full with their abundant franchises.
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 Williams when 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.
He's perhaps made it easy to forget over the last decade, this is right in Will Smith's wheelhouse. The 50-year-old superstar has two Best Actor nominations to his name; one for portraying boxer Muhammad Ali in Michael Mann's Ali in 2001 and for his work as real-life rags-to-riches story Chris Gardner in 2006's The Pursuit of Happyness. Point being, when Smith takes on the right, serious role (historically in a biopic), great things can happen. Case in point, his last arguably great movie was 2015's very underseen Concussion, which chronicles Dr. Bennet Omalu, who uncovered crucial information about brain damage in the game of football.
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. This news was first reported by Deadline.