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Will Smith to play Venus & Serena’s dad in new biopic

PICTURED: Will Smith and Richard Williams

WILL SMITH is set to take on the role of Richard Williams in a new biopic based on the tennis coach’s life.

The flick, entitled King Richard, which will be produced by Tim White, Trevor White and Smith’s Overbrook Entertainment company, will see the actor play the famous father and is expected to reflect the California man’s journey as he raised pro athletes Venus and Serena Williams, both of whom reached the highest levels of professional tennis.

Born and raised in Louisiana, Williams moved to Chicago after high school and settled in California. By 1979, he had five children and then met Oracene Price. Together, they had three children, including Venus and Serena. He famously wrote out a 78-page plan detailing the training of young tennis stars, when they were just four and a half years old.

The news of Smith’s new role has been met with mixed reaction, with some suggesting that a dark-skinned actor would be better suited to play Williams.

One Twitter user wrote: “Why is he always cast in roles portraying dark skin men like there aren’t tons of black actors that would make more sense for the role?” while another tweeted: “was mahershala not available or any other darker skinned male actor ever??”

Meanwhile, fans of the actor are excited to see Smith take on a role that’ll show off his acting chops. “What'd I say on MovieTalk last week? Will Smith needs to remind the world what a damn good actor he is! Lo and behold, today brings news he'll play the father of Venus & Serena Williams in KING RICHARD. Sounds like a great role for him to me!,” said entertainment reporter Jeff Sneider.

Smith will next be seen in the live-action adaptation of Aladdin, playing the Genie, hitting theaters May 24. He also stars in sci-fi thriller Gemini Man, with Mary Elizabeth Winstead and Clive Owen, in theaters October 4 and is currently filming the highly-anticipated Bad Boys III with Martin Lawrence.

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