king richard director

King Richard, the biopic starring Will Smith as the father and coach of tennis greats Venus and Serena Williams, has served a release date and a director. The film will bounce into theaters next November, with Reinaldo Marcus Green calling the shots. The film will track how Richard Williams trained his daughters Venus and Serena to be the best tennis players in the world.

Variety reports Reinaldo Marcus Green will direct King Richard. Green directed 2018’s Monsters and Men, as well as the upcoming Mark Wahlberg movie Good Joe Bell. The filmmaker will direct from a script by Zach Baylin, which tells “the true story of the hardscrabble but iron-willed father of Venus and Serena Williams who had a plan to make his daughters the greatest tennis players in the world…Serena Williams has won 23 Grand Slam singles titles, starting with the US Open in 1999. Venus Williams has seven Grand Slam singles, starting with Wimbledon in 2000. The sisters have combined for 14 Grand Slam doubles championships.”

While I hope this film turns out well, it seems a little weird that we’re getting a Venus and Serena Williams biopic told from the point of view of their father, and not the sisters themselves. In any case, this sounds like the type of soaring biopic that will probably end up netting Will Smith an Oscar nomination. And if you don’t think this movie is going to go for an awards season run, take a look at the official release date: November 25, 2020. Right ahead of the Thanksgiving holiday weekend, folks. That’s primo awards season time. Interestingly enough, King Richard will mark the first time Smith has worked with a black director, as IndieWire was first to point out.

Smith’s casting caused some controversy when it was announced back in March. As Michelle Darrisaw at Oprah Magazine wrote:

The controversy doesn’t have anything to do with the 50-year-old star not having a background in tennis, his athletic ability, or lack thereof. Instead, many are questioning whether Smith’s skin tone, as an African-American man, is dark enough to play the father to Serena, 37, and Venus Williams, 38.

Tim White and Trevor White will produce King Richard, along with James Lassiter. Jada Pinkett Smith, Allan Mandelbaum and Caleeb Pinkett will executive produce.

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