Will Smith Signs On to Play Venus & Serena Williams’s Dad in New Movie

The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air is about to become king.

Will Smith has reportedly signed on to play Venus and Serena Williams’s father, Richard, in the upcoming film King Richard, and no, it has nothing to do with Shakespeare or the British monarchy.

The story, written by newcomer Zach Baylin, centers on the man who crafted his daughters’ tennis careers despite having no tennis background himself. It follows Williams’s real-life decision to whip up a 78-page plan for his young girls’ professional careers and tracks their rise from the dilapidated and underutilized tennis courts of Compton, California, all the way to the world stage.

Regardless of his lack of training, Williams coached his daughters to become two of the greatest female tennis players in history (Serena has 23 Grand Slam tournament wins and Venus has 7 Grand Slam titles). And he fought to get them there (sometimes literally) with all he had, ignoring skepticism and battling hardships and his demons head on.

In addition to their own success, his daughters have won 14 Grand Slam doubles championships since 1999 and have become well-known fixtures in the zeitgeist.

Smith will produce the film under his Overbrook Entertainment banner as well as star. No further casting attachments or a director have been announced but might we suggest going with the IRL Venus and Serena for the movie?

King Richard isn’t the only project Smith is currently working on. He recently wrapped the live-action Aladdin remake, which is due out May 24, and the Ang Lee–directed action film Gemini Man, which drops October 4. He’s also in the process of filming Bad Boys for Life, a continuation of his 1995 action-comedy Bad Boys franchise. 

A bunch of projects in the pipeline and no sign of slowing down? That’s Big Willie Style to a tee.


Cat mom, yogi, brunch enthusiast

Lex is an LA native who's deeply obsessed with picnics, Slim Aarons, rosé, Hollywood history and Joan Didion. She joined PureWow in early 2017.