Based on a true story, on January 13, 2022, the biographical drama arrives in Italian cinemas with Warner Bros. Pictures A Winning Family – King Richard. The film tells how tennis superstars Venus and Serena Williams became who they are after their father Richard Williams introduced them to the sport by becoming their coach. Two-time Oscar nominee Will Smith (“Ali,” “The Pursuit of Happyness,” “Bad Boys for Life”) plays Richard, under the direction of Reinaldo Marcus Green (“Monsters and Men”).
Plot and cast
The official plot: A Winning Family – King Richard retraces the life of Richard Williams (Will Smith), an undeterred father who helped train two of the most gifted athletes of all time, who changed the sport of tennis forever. Driven by a clear vision of their future, and using unconventional methods, Richard has a plan that will take Venus and Serena Williams from the streets of Compton in California to the world stage as legendary icons. The deeply moving film shows the power of family, perseverance and unwavering belief as a means to achieve the impossible and make an impact on the world.
Aunjanue Ellis (“If Beale Street Could Talk,” “Quantico” on TV) plays the girls’ mom, Oracene “Brandi” Williams; Saniyaa Sidney (“The Right to Count,” “Barriere”) plays Venus Williams; Demi Singleton (“Godfather of Harlem” on TV) plays Serena Williams, with Tony Goldwyn (the series “Divergent”, “Scandal” on TV) as coach Paul Cohen and Jon Bernthal (the upcoming “The Many Saints of Newark ”,“ Le Mans ’66 – The great challenge ”) in those of coach Rick Macci. Also in the cast are Andy Bean (“IT – Chapter Two”), Kevin Dunn (the “Transformers” films, “Veep – Incompetent Vice President” of HBO) and Craig Tate (“Greyhound: The Invisible Enemy”).
A Winning Family King Richard – trailer and video
First Italian trailer released on July 28, 2021
- Reinaldo Marcus Green (Monsters and Men) directed “A Winning Family – King Richard” from a screenplay written by Zach Baylin (Creed III).
- King Richard’s screenplay was included on the 2018 Black List, the annual list of unspoken and well-received screenplays.
- The film received some criticism of Will Smith’s casting as Richard Williams who, in real life, is actually darker rather than fair-skinned.
- Actress Erin Cummings, who plays a social worker, did not see the filming of the film until she attended the CinemaCon convention alongside John Campea.
- The creative team behind the scenes included Academy Award-winning cinematographer Robert Elswit (“The Oilman”), production designers Wynn Thomas (“From 5 Bloods – Like Brothers,” “The Right to Count”) and William Arnold ( “The Courage of Truth – The Hate U Give”), Oscar® nominated editor Pamela Martin (“The Fighter”) and twice Oscar® nominated costume designer Sharen Davis (“Dreamgirls”, “Ray”). Music by Oscar-nominated composer Kris Bowers (“Space Jam: New Legends”, “A Concerto is a Conversation”).
- The film’s producers are Tim White and Trevor White under their Star Thrower Entertainment banner, and Will Smith with his Westbrook. Executive producers on the film are Isha Price, Serena Williams, Venus Williams, James Lassiter, Jada Pinkett Smith, Adam Merims, Lynn Harris, Allan Mandelbaum, Jon Mone and Peter Dodd.
The true story behind the film
Richard Williams decided that his future daughters would become tennis pros when he saw Virginia Ruzici playing on television. Williams wrote a 78-page plan and began coaching Venus and Serena when they were only four and a half years old, taking them to public tennis courts. He would later confess that he involved them too early and that the age of six would have been more appropriate. He soon got her to participate in Shreveport tennis tournaments. In 1995 Williams withdrew them from a tennis academy to train them personally. Serena won the US Open in 1999; Venus beat Lindsay Davenport to take the 2000 Wimbledon title. After that win, Richard yelled “Straight Outta Compton!”, Referring to the song by NWA, the same area of Los Angeles where the family once resided. In excitement, he jumped over the NBC broadcast booth and performed a triumphant dance. Williams has been married several times. Later in her daughters’ career she took on a less visible role, turning to other interests such as photography. In July 2016, Williams suffered a stroke. Lakeisha Williams, his wife at the time, said her condition was stable, but she subsequently suffered further strokes.
- The original music of the film is by the composer Kris Bowers (Respect, Space Jam – New Legends, The United States vs. Billie Holiday). Bowers and director Reinaldo Marcus Green also collaborated on Mosters and Men.
- The song accompanying the trailer is “The Gospel” by Alicia Keys.