'King Richard' film negotiations proceed despite colorism claims against Will Smith - The Sauce
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‘King Richard’ film negotiations proceed despite colorism claims against Will Smith

Warner Bros. Studios is reportedly in final negotiations to buy sports biopic ‘King Richard’.

The studio is nearing a deal to acquire the rights for the film about tennis stars Venus Williams and Serena Williams’ father Richard Williams, according to Variety.

Will Smith, 50, is reportedly set to take on the role as the dad of the tennis greats in Zach Baylin’s new speculative screenplay which tells the story of Richard who, with no tennis experience, raised and developed the sisters to become legends of the sport.

However, as earlier reported by The Sauce, Smith’s pick for the lead role elicited discussions on colorism in Hollywood due to the fact that Smith is shades lighter than the Williams sisters’ father. Many others felt that giving the part to a dark-skinned actor would “make more sense”. People also suggested other actors who could take on the role – including Idris Elba, and Oscar-winner Mahershala Ali.

There is no director attached as of yet and Venus, 38, and Serena, 37, aren’t among the producing team, which includes the ‘Suicide Squad’ star and his Overbrook Entertainment banner.

Richard, 77, trained the girls on the courts of Compton in Los Angeles from an early age and at the age of four drew up a 78-page plan for their professional careers.

The pair were still teenagers when Serena won the US Open in 1999 and Venus won Wimbledon in 2000. Serena has gone on to win a total of 23 individual Grand Slam tournaments, whilst Venus has won seven Grand Slam titles.

The rest of the producing team consists of Tim White and Trevor Write through their Star Thrower Entertainment banner and Allan Mandelbaum and Caleeb Pinkett will serve as executive producers with Mary Solomon and Rick Rickertsen.

Speaking of her father’s influence on her life, Serena previously said: “He’s been the most important person in my career. I do miss my dad obviously. I miss him all the time. I call him. I try to reach out to him a lot. He calls me. He watches my matches. He still tells me things that I’m not doing right.

“It all started with an idea. It was his idea. It’s changed sports. It’s changed history.”

A report by Variety stated “Smith will also produce under his Overbrook Entertainment company. The executive producers include Allan Mandelbaum from Star Thrower Entertainment and Caleeb Pinkett from Overbrook Entertainment. The co-producers include Mary Solomon and Rick Rickertsen.

Golden Globe winner Will Smith is currently onset in production for “Bad Boys for Life,” the third installment of the “Bad Boys” franchise.

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