According to Deadline, Will Smith will reportedly play Richard Williams, tennis coach and father of Venus and Serena Williams, in a biopic about his life. Despite not having a background in tennis, Williams was able to teach his legendary daughters how to master the sport while growing up in Compton. As of now, Venus has seven Grand Slam titles while Serena has 23.
“Tim White and Trevor White will produce under their Star Thrower Entertainment banner (their credits include The Post, Wind River and Ingrid Goes West), alongside Smith and his Overbrook Entertainment banner,” reports the site. “Allan Mandelbaum and Caleeb Pinkett are exec producers and Mary Solomon and Rick Rickertsen are co-producers.”
Despite the casting decision, Internet folk are none too pleased about Smith’s upcoming portrayal. Many are arguing that the Philly native is too light to play the role.
“Colorism matters..love will Smith but there are other black actors for this role,” wrote sports writer Clarence Hill Jr. on Twitter, while another user agreed, writing “Will Smith is about to be the Scarlett Johansson of black movies.”
Smith is hard at work on a few movies as of late. He has been updating fans via Instagram that Bad Boys 3 is in development, and his portrayal of Genie in the live-action version of Disney’s Aladdin will be officially unveiled when the film is released on May 24.
Colorism matters..love will Smith but there are other black actors for this role https://t.co/qrV1QuBiJH
— Clarence Hill Jr (@clarencehilljr) March 5, 2019
Will Smith is about to be the Scarlett Johansson of black movies 😭😩 https://t.co/O1F0vLhO6p
— Tanyaradzwa 💕 (@MsSmileSoBright) March 5, 2019
I think Will Smith is a talented actor (I’m a fan of a lot of the stuff he’s done). But they couldn’t find a darker skinned black man to play the role of Richard Williams?
If I was asked to play Venus or Serena, I’d turn the role down. Color representation also matters.
— The Live Revolution (@noelleharmony) March 4, 2019