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Will Smith reveals why Venus and Serena Williams didn't give their blessing for King Richard at first

Find out why the pair waited to give the film their blessing


will smith richard
Emmy Griffiths
TV & Film Editor
13 March 2022
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Will Smith is having an incredible time during awards season thanks to his critically acclaimed role as Venus and Serena Williams' father in King Richard - and is up for a BAFTA for Best Actor in a Leading Role for his portrayal of Richard. However, the film wasn't initially met with support from Venus and Serena - and Will revealed why the pair waited until they watched the movie to give it their blessing.

MORE: Everything you need to know about BAFTAs 2022: date, nominees and how to watch

Chatting on The Graham Norton Show back in November, he explained: "They said they would see us through the process and exec produce, but they wanted to see the movie before they decided if they would put their names to it.

WATCH: See the trailer for Serena and Venus Williams film King Richard

"It was the worst two hours of my life, but they were a mess with tears, and they loved it. I had made the mistake of watching Ali for the first time while sitting behind Muhammad Ali and mid-way through the movie, he turned to his wife and said, ‘Was I that crazy?'"

venus serena

Venus and Serena waited to give the film their blessing

Chatting about the incredible role, he continued: "It was such an opportunity to dive into the life of this family and spend time uncovering their amazing story. He predicted Venus and Serena being the world’s number one and number two women’s tennis players two years before they were born! He wrote a 78-page plan. It was a really crazy prophecy and so amazing it’s hard to comprehend."

MORE: Why Serena Williams' Disney wedding with husband Alexis was bittersweet

MORE: Serena Williams gives glimpse inside impressive backyard at incredible $6.8 million home in rare video with daughter

Serena previously opened up about the show on Red Table Talk, saying: "Oh, I think I cried the whole time," before admitting that she found the scenes featuring her late sister Yetunde Price especially painful. "Whenever she came on film, I just - personally, I just started, like I mean, even still," she said.

richard venus

The real Richard with daughters Venus and Serena

Yetunde, who worked as both a nurse and a personal assistant for her famous sisters, sadly died in a drive-by shooting in 2003 at the age of 31 in the family's hometown of Compton, California.

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