'King Richard': Warner Bros. Closing In On Deal For Will Smith As Tennis Patriarch, Though The Obamas Are Pursuing For Netflix

March 19 2019

When we last reported on King Richard, the spec script about Richard Williams that has Will Smith attached to star, the news received considerable criticism online.

According to Deadline, it looks like Warner Bros. might be the studio holding King Richard's brass ring. The movie studio is reportedly the current front-runner to buy the rights to the hot spec script. Warner Bros.' deal, reportedly set to be within the $60 million range, was the highest bid, surpassing both Universal and Netflix. Former President and first lady Barack and Michelle Obama put in their bid through Netflix to bring Richard Williams' story to the streaming giant. It's being reported that Isha Price, the sister of the tennis duo, will join as a producer. To give the deal some legitimacy, Warner Bros.' wants to bring Serena and Venus Williams on board, as well.

The casting of Smith in the role of the Williams family patriarch received backlash and was considered by many online to be an example of colorism, a practice that is still embedded in the Hollywood casting system. Many people took to social media with their suggestions as to who should play Williams, a dark-skinned Black man, with names such as Don Cheadle, Mahershala Ali and Sterling K. Brown thrown into the mix.

A deal should be finalized soon.


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Photo: CARL DE SOUZA/AFP/Getty Images, Photo by Kevin Winter/Getty Images for AFI, Photo by Mark Wilson/Getty Images