The Will Behind the Tennis Throne

Demi Singleton (Serena Williams), Saniyya Sidney (Venus Williams), and Will Smith (Richard Williams) in King Richard. (Chiabella James/Warner Bros. Pictures)
Will Smith serves up aces in King Richard, but the film makes Venus and Serena Williams almost incidental characters in their own rise to greatness.

NRPLUS MEMBER ARTICLE V enus and Serena Williams didn’t get to be who they are by accident. But the new Will Smith–produced movie starring Will Smith, in which practically every scene is built around Will Smith giving a prophetic speech or a motivational speech or an angry speech, makes the sororal tennis champs seem almost incidental to their own rise to greatness. “You gonna be the greatest of all time,” Smith tells the sisters as their father. “You know how I know? Because I planned for it.” Well, it’s in the bag, then, Dad.

Smith, however, is still one of the most charming men on Earth,

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