Are legends born or made? That's a question that's often asked and rarely answered, but this fall's King Richard proposes another question: what if they're born AND made.
Starring Will Smith as Richard Williams, the tenacious father who helped his tennis-playing daughters, Venus and Serena, become two of the most famous and revered professional athletes in history, King Richard has the potential to be a major hit when it arrives in theaters and HBO Max this November. We're still learning more details about this biographical drama, but here's what we know about Smith's latest starring vehicle.
King Richard Premieres In Theaters And HBO Max On November 19, 2021
As the summer months eventually cool down, we're getting ever closer to this fall's big movie season. We've got a lot of promising titles on the horizon, and one of the most noteworthy is King Richard, which premieres on November 19, 2021. The potentially award-nominated drama has all the makings of a critical and commercial darling, but we'll need to wait a few months to see how this upcoming movie ultimately holds up.
Will Smith Plays Richard Williams, The Undeterred Father Of Serena And Venus Williams
Though his name isn't as well-known, Richard Williams was instrumental in making the Williams sisters among the greatest professional athletes in sports history, as we'll see in King Richard, the newest film starring Will Smith. While the A-list actor's track record has been uneven of late, this new movie, which Smith also produced, could be among his most personal, emotional, and, therefore, his most anticipated in quite some time.
King Richard Follows The Unwavering Pursuit Of The Determined Father Who Trained Two Of The Greatest Athletes In History
Especially when it comes to sports movies, people love to watch stories of tenacity and unwavering optimism resulting in true greatness. Richard Williams' legacy will lie in the towering heights of his famous daughters, Venus and Serena, but he'll get his own story told in King Richard, which follows the patriarch's clear-eyed, and fairly unconventional, journey to turn his super-talented tennis-playing kids into the sport's major superstars.
Hidden Figures’ Saniyya Sidney Plays Venus Williams And Godfather Of Harlem’s Demi Singleton Plays Serena Williams
Filling in the shoes of Venus and Serena Williams is no small order. To play two of the most accomplished athletes in history is a daunting feat, and one hopes that Saniyya Sidney and Demi Singleton are up to the challenge. Thankfully, both young actresses have been quick to impress in various roles. Specifically, Sidney was seen in Hidden Figures, Fences, Fast Color, American Horror Story, Roots, and The Passage. She'll also play Sasha Obama in Showtime's The First Lady. Additionally, Singleton can be seen as Margaret Johnson in Epix's Godfather of Harlem. She also appeared in 2019's Goldie.
King Richard Is Directed By Joe Bell’s Reinaldo Marcus Green
Following several short films and TV credits, Reinaldo Marcus Green made his feature directorial debut with 2018's Monsters and Men. It was an impressive, well-received debut, and one that paved the way for his follow-up, this year's Joe Bell. Sadly, however, the overwrought drama became a sophomore slump. Hopefully, his third film, King Richard, is a solid rebound. It's got a great cast and a rousing true story. If King Richard can win over critics and audiences alike, many folks will hopefully forgive Green's flop.
The Supporting Cast Includes Aunjanue Ellis, Jon Bernthal, Tony Goldwyn, Kevin Dunn, Andy Bean, And More
In addition to Will Smith, Saniyya Sidney, and Demi Singleton leading the cast as our three Williams, King Richard will feature supporting turns from Aunjanue Ellis (When They See Us), Jon Bernthal (The Many Saints of Newark), Tony Goldwyn (Scandal), Kevin Dunn (Veep), Andy Bean (IT Chapter Two), Craig Tate (Greyhound), and Dylan McDermott (The Practice). More specifically, Ellis will play Oracene "Brandi" Williams, the mother of Serena and Venus, Bernthal will be seen as Coach Rick Macci, and Goldwyn will appear as Coach Paul Cohen. The other roles will be confirmed later.
King Richard’s Screenplay Comes From First-Time Writer Zach Baylin
Zach Baylin has been climbing his way up the Hollywood ladder for decades now. In 2005, he worked as an art department production assistant on Winter Passing. From there, Baylin would earn additional credits on Dave Chapelle's Block Party, Jack Goes Boating, Side Effects, and HBO's Girls before he finally became a credited screenwriter with this fall's King Richard. And it appears that The Black List script earned the first-time writer some good notice; he's also attached to write Creed III, among other titles.
It Was Delayed A Whole Year Due To The COVID-19 Pandemic
Certainly, a number of movies and shows faced a number of delays due to the COVID-19 pandemic, and King Richard is hardly an exception. The anticipated new movie was previously scheduled to hit theaters one year earlier on November 25, 2020, though those plans were put on pause when the production was delayed. Though it started shooting in January 2020, King Richard wasn't done filming until close to October 2020.
King Richard Was Shot By Oscar-Winning Cinematographer Robert Elswit
There are few cinematographers working today who are more revered than Robert Elswit. The DP won an Oscar for his thunderous visuals in There Will Be Blood and he was also Oscar-nominated for his work behind the lens on Good Night, and Good Luck. His other notable film credits include (but don't limit to) Punch-Drunk Love, Boogie Nights, Michael Clayton, The Town, Mission: Impossible - Ghost Protocol, Nightcrawler, Inherent Vice, Mission: Impossible - Rogue Nation, and last year's The King of Staten Island. Now, Elswit will lend his esteemed expertise and proven talents to King Richard.
The Trailer Gives Us Our First Glimpse At Will Smith’s Potentially Award-Nominated Performance
We'll have to wait until the fall to finally see Will Smith's latest performance, and we'll have to wait until the winter to see if the Oscar-nominated actor's soulful turn becomes an awards season darling. But you can get your first early glimpse of this forthcoming portrayal in the film's first official trailer, which premiered in July. Though it plays many expected dramatic beats, the promo also showcases Smith's dedication to the material and the star's drive to provide another crowd-pleasing tour-de-force in this mentor role.
Check out the trailer below:
King Richard is playing in theaters and on HBO Max on November 19th.
Will is an entertainment writer based in Pittsburgh, PA. His writing can also be found in The Playlist, Cut Print Film, We Got This Covered, The Young Folks, Slate and other outlets. He also co-hosts the weekly film/TV podcast Cinemaholics with Jon Negroni and he likes to think he's a professional Garfield enthusiast.
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