King Richard, the highly anticipated story of Venus and Serena Williams and the plan their father, Richard Williams, had to make them tennis champions hits theaters today.
The film stars Will Smith as the title character and Reinaldo Marcus Green, who directed the film, tells ABC Audio that his movie explores how Richard is a complicated man.
“Look, nobody’s perfect. But I think there is no doubt that that man loved his kids and gave a tremendous amount of time and commitment to their story and to who they are as a family,” he explained.
Venus and Serena’s mother, Oracene Williams, is played by Aunjanue Ellis and she shared the movie is a powerful story about love and family and she hopes it will inspire others.
Recalling one of her “favorite scenes” in King Richard where “Will says to Venus that she’s not just representing her, she’s representing…all the little black girls in the world,” Ellis gets emotional and shares, “I mean, that’s the movie for me.”
It’s not all rainbows and blue skies though, viewers will also see that life wasn’t easy for the family.
“We see that struggle play out for them early on in the film,” says Green. “Five girls living in one bedroom, five girls taking a really tiny VW bus, five girls hanging posters and picking up balls and what that’s like as a family.”
Ultimately, Green says it was important to make a story about an inspirational African-American family who loves and supports each other.
“There’s a huge generation of kids out there that need to see themselves, should see themselves, are worth it,” he declares. “And I think stories like this tell us that we’re worth it. And it’s through hard work and dedication, not through anything else.”