Robert Williams was ridiculed for his eccentricity and having the nerve to believe that two Black girls from Compton, California could become two of the greatest tennis players in the history of the game. Ultimately, his vision would come to pass. Now his story will be coming to the big screen with Academy Award nominee Will Smith slated to play him.
Written by Zach Baylin, King Richard is set to be produced under Tim White and Trevor White’s Star Thrower Entertainment.
The film will highlight the life of Robert Williams a 77-year-old Louisiana, native who struggled to introduce his girls to the sport of tennis. While raising his family in Compton, California, Williams drafted a 78-page plan for his daughters’ professional careers as tennis players, reports Deadline. Williams, who has no formal training in the sport, pulled his girls from a tennis academy and he would go on to teach his daughter’s tennis.
He began giving them tennis lessons and the girls learned the game on cracked, weedy public courts in Compton, reportedly after their father brawled with young toughs who were not fans of the sport and would not make way. The Williams sisters went on to become two of the greatest female players in tennis history, with Serena arguably the best ever, with 23 Grand Slam tournament wins. Venus Williams has won seven Grand Slam titles.
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. Allan Mandelbaum and Caleeb Pinkett are exec producers and Mary Solomon and Rick Rickertsen are co-producers
Will Smith is currently at work filming the Bad Boys 3 and is slated to star as Genie in the upcoming live-action Aladdin.