Will Smith's Fresh Prince Co-Star Alfonso Ribeiro Has Seen King Richard, And He Has A Funny Take

Will Smith and his co-stars in King Richard
(Image credit: Warner Bros.)

Will Smith has delivered some strong performances in some excellent films, such as Six Degrees of Separation, Ali and The Pursuit of Happyness. Well, you can add this year’s King Richard to that list, as Smith channels Richard Williams in a perfect way. The film is gaining plenty of momentum as awards season prepares to kick off, and many are taking particular note of the lead actor’s work. Fresh Prince of Bel-Air alum Alfonso Ribeiro is among those who have seen the movie, and he has a pretty funny take on it.

The Carlton Banks actor has always been honest when it comes to his former co-star, whether it be in regards to his viral dad bod pic or his recently released memoir. While speaking with Access Hollywood, the America’s Funniest Home Videos host revealed that he enjoyed the movie. He even mentioned that the movie “inspired” him in a pretty humorous way:

We were in the RV, weirdly enough, we were traveling, and when it came out, we went ahead and watched it, the whole family watched it. What an inspiring movie, to learn the true story of what Richard Williams was doing to get Serena and Venus to the top of the charts was unbelievable. And Will did a fantastic job in it, what a great movie. [I] felt inspired to want to go play tennis. I want to go start teaching my kids how to play tennis after watching the movie. I was like, ‘You could be a champion! You could be a champion!’

It’s honestly hard not to get swept up into the inspirational tone of Reinaldo Marcus Green’s sports biopic when you’re watching it. Now, I wouldn’t say that I felt compelled to hop onto a tennis court myself or to start formulating a plan for my potential future children like Richard Williams did. Nevertheless, you can certainly see where Alfonso Ribeiro is coming from. 

This seemed to be a very personal project for Will Smith, considering that it’s an intimate story and he plays a father in it. And as it turns out, he’s had great respect for Venus and Serena Williams’ father for some time now. The actor recently recalled watching an interview a reporter conducted with a young Venus years ago, during which the older Williams intervened. The devoted dad and coach did so in order to allow his daughter to better articulate her thoughts. Smith explained that the moment always stuck with him and that he’d hoped to serve as a similar presence for his own kids. 

The Oscar-nominated star’s admiration of the man and commitment to his eventual role seem to have paid off in a big way. So far, he’s been nominated for a number of honors and just received Golden Globe and Critics’ Choice nods this week. Aunjanue Ellis, who plays family matriarch Oracene Price, is also receiving awards love. Additionally, “Be Alive,” Beyoncé’s hit single from the film, seems to be headed for some Oscars love

The movie will be up against some stiff competition this year, but it does have the chance to make some serious noise. As time goes on, movie buffs will see just how the Will Smith-led drama fares against its peers. Meanwhile, some may also want to keep an eye on Alfonso Ribeiro and his brood to see if he’s able to churn out some champions of his own.

Those who’ve yet to see King Richard, and the cast and crew’s impeccable work in it, can see it in theaters now.

Erik Swann
Senior Content Producer

Erik Swann is a Senior Content Producer at CinemaBlend. He began working with the publication in 2020 when he was hired as Weekend Editor. Today, he continues to write, edit and handle social media responsibilities over the weekend. On weekdays, he also writes TV and movie-related news and helps out with editing and social media as needed. He graduated from the University of Maryland, where he received a degree in Broadcast Journalism. After shifting into multi-platform journalism, he started working as a freelance writer and editor before joining CB. Covers superheroes, sci-fi, comedy, and almost anything else in film and TV. He eats more pizza than the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles.