By now, you’ve surely heard all about King Richard, the new biopic starring Will Smith as Richard Williams, the father of tennis phenoms Venus and Serena Williams (played here by Saniyya Sidney and Demi Singleton), and its inspirational story about a man unwilling to give up on his daughters.
Outside of the film’s central characters, the King Richard cast boasts an impressive group of supporting actors, each bringing their heart, soul, and years of experience to the biographical sports drama. And while some of these faces are familiar, others may leave you wondering where you’ve seen them before. Whatever the case may be, we’ve got you covered with this quick yet comprehensive rundown.
Will Smith (Richard Williams)
Leading the King Richard cast is Will Smith, who takes on the role of Richard Williams, the loving, devoted, and determined father who trains his daughters to be, arguably, two of the greatest tennis stars in the history of the sport.
The “Fresh Prince” is no stranger to the world of biographical dramas, as he has previously led Ali, The Pursuit of Happyness, and Concussion in addition to dozens upon dozens of iconic roles in various other genres throughout his career. A list of Smith’s best performances could also be repurposed as the most successful movies of the past quarter-century, including Independence Day, the Men in Black franchise, the Bad Boys series, and oh so much more.
Saniyya Sidney (Venus Williams)
Taking on the role of Venus Williams in King Richard is Saniyya Sidney, a young and talented actress who has built up quite a resumé for herself since making her feature-length acting debut in the Academy Award-winning drama Fences in 2016.
Since then, Sidney has made appearances in movies like Hidden Figures, Fast Color, and Kevin Hart’s Guide to Black History. Sidney has also popped up in a number of TV projects during that same stretch of time, including a guest role on the 2016 remake of Roots, which she followed up with roles on American Horror Story: Roanoke, and The Passage. She is also set to play former First Daughter Sasha Obama in the 2022 Showtime anthology series, First Lady.
Demi Singleton (Serena Williams)
Portraying Serena Williams is relative newcomer Demi Singleton, who, despite only having a few film and TV appearances to her name, brings a level of intensity to the screen that is up there with anyone else in the King Richard cast. Prior to landing one of the lead roles in the new sports biopic, Singleton made her acting debut in the 2019 drama Goldie, which she followed up with a recurring role on the Epix series Godfather of Harlem.
Aunjanue Ellis (Oracene “Brandi” Williams)
Taking on the role of Oracene “Brandi” Williams, the mother of Venus and Serena and former wife of Richard, in King Richard is Aunjanue Ellis. Throughout her career, which goes back to the 1990s, Ellis has appeared in movies like Ray, The Help, If Beale Street Could Talk, and a couple of dozen others, ranging from dramas to comedies and everything in between.
Ellis has also had a prominent TV career, one that has seen her appear on True Blood, NCIS: Los Angeles, When They See Us, and most recently Lovecraft Country, portraying Hippolyta Freeman throughout the HBO horror series first, and most likely, final season.
Tony Goldwyn (Paul Cohen)
Portraying legendary tennis coach Paul Cohen in King Richard is Tony Goldwyn, who stepped in to replace Liev Schreiber after the actor dropped out prior to the start of production, per Deadline.
To some, Goldwyn is best remembered as Carl Bruner, the backstabbing businessman who led to Sam Wheat’s (Patrick Swayze) death in the supernatural drama Ghost. Over the years, Goldwyn has provided the voice of the titular hero in Disney’s Tarzan, appeared in the Divergent franchise, and multiple other notable movies. Over on the TV side of his career, Goldwyn has had major roles on Scandal, Chambers, and most recently, Lovecraft Country.
Jon Bernthal (Rick Macci)
Jon Bernthal appears in the King Richard cast as Rick Macci, one of the tennis coaches that worked with Venus and Serena Williams early in their career. One of the most recognizable faces in the biographical sports drama, Bernthal became a major force in Hollywood following his portrayal of Shane Walsh in the first two seasons of The Walking Dead, starting with the popular AMC horror series' 2010 debut, and he hasn't slowed down since.
Over the course of the past decade, Bernthal has portrayed Frank Castle on Daredevil and The Punisher, and has given outstanding performances in films like Wind River, Me and Earl and the Dying Girl, and Baby Driver. More recently, he has had prominent roles in Those Who Wish Me Dead, The Many Saints of Newark, and Small Engine Repair.
Andy Bean (Laird Stabler)
Taking on the role of Laird Stabler, one of tennis pros working with the Williams sisters, is Andy Bean. Prior to joining the King Richard cast, Bean made a name for himself on the Starz drama series Power, portraying Greg Knox. Following the success of the series, Bean would go on to appear in The Divergent Series: Allegiant, Transformers: The Last Knight, and It Chapter Two, in which he played the adult version of Stanley Uris. In 2019, Bean landed the role of Alec Holland in The CW’s short-lived Swamp Thing revival series.
Kevin Dunn (Vic Braden)
Kevin Dunn appears in King Richard as Vic Braden, an influential tennis instructor who was one of the first to witness the greatness of Venus and Serena Williams. Throughout his career, Dunn has been one of those actors who can jump from farces like the 1993 political comedy Dave, to more dramatic thrillers like Nixon, while still giving memorable performances in massive franchises like Transformers without him ever seeming at all out of place.
Dunn’s TV work is even more impressive with major roles on Veep, True Detective Season 1, The Night Of, and countless other smaller recurring and guest-starring roles on series like 21 Jump Street, Roseanne, Seinfeld, and Lost, with appearances going all the way back to the ABC dramedy, Jack and Mike, in 1986.
Craig Tate (Bells)
Taking on the role of Bells in King Richard is Craig Tate. Since making his professional acting debut on the HBO drama series Treme in 2012, Tate has gone on to appear on shows like Ravenswood, Shameless, Snowfall, and Reprisal, the latter two being prominent recurring roles. Tate’s film work includes Lee Daniels’ The Butler, 12 Years a Slave, and the Tom Hanks-led World War II military epic drama, Greyhound.
Dylan McDermott (George Macarthur)
Dylan McDermott shows up in King Richard as the fictional sports agent George Macarthur. Prior to landing the role in the highly anticipated biographical sports drama, McDermott became one of the biggest names in TV in the late 1990s with his award-winning performance as Bobby Donnell on the ABC legal drama, The Practice.
Over the years, McDermott has remained busy with a number of other projects on the small screen, including various installments of the American Horror Story franchise, and is currently one of the leads on Law and Order: Organized Crime. McDermott’s film work includes Olympus Has Fallen, Miracle on 34th Street, and Steel Magnolias.
Layla Crawford (Lyndrea Price)
Layla Crawford is a member of the King Richard cast and takes on the role of Lyndrea Price, one of Venus and Serena Williams’ half-sisters from their mother’s previous marriage. Throughout her career, Crawford has made brief appearances on Two and Half Men, True Blood, The Mindy Project, and Fresh Off the Boat, to name only a few. During that same stretch of time, Crawford has had larger roles on The First Family, Gortimer Gibbon’s Life on Normal Street, and NCIS: Los Angeles.
Daniele Lawson (Isha Price)
Daniele Lawson also makes an appearance in King Richard as Isha Price, one of Venus and Serena Williams’ half-sisters from their mother’s previous marriage. Shortly after making her debut in the 2014 short film, Long Time Gone, Lawson landed roles on shows like CSI: Cyber, Ben and Kate, and Scandal. More recently, Lawson has appeared on Young Sheldon, Mixed-ish, Good Trouble, Dad Stop Embarrassing Me!, and 9-1-1.
Mikayla LaShae Bartholomew (Tunde Price)
Mikayla LaShae Bartholomew joins the King Richard cast as Tunde Price, Venus and Serena Williams’ third half-sister from their mother’s previous marriage. Price made her feature film debut with her performance in King Richard, which is one of a handful of appearances she has made since her career got underway in 2019. The newcomer previously showed up on the TV series The Code and Red Riding Hoods, and in the 2021 short film, Pure.
Hopefully, all of this helps introduce you to the younger members of the King Richard cast and helps you remember all the places you have seen the more established actors over the years. If you want to know what else is coming to theaters and streaming services the final weeks of the year, check out CinemaBlend’s updated schedule of all the 2021 new movie releases.
Philip grew up in Louisiana (not New Orleans) before moving to St. Louis after graduating from Louisiana State University-Shreveport. When he's not writing about movies or television, Philip can be found being chased by his three kids, telling his dogs to stop yelling at the mailman, or yelling about professional wrestling to his wife. If the stars properly align, he will talk about For Love Of The Game being the best baseball movie of all time.