Take a Look at the King Richard Cast Side by Side With Their Real-Life Counterparts
The sports movie King Richard tells a story that seems almost too fantastical to be true: how Venus and Serena Williams, coached by their father, Richard, rose up from obscurity to become two of the best athletes of all time. The biopic has faced criticism over its casting, with viewers citing colorism in the casting of Will Smith (who has visibly lighter skin than the real-life Williams), pointing out there were plenty of talented, dark-skinned actors who would have been a better fit to depict Williams accurately.
Despite the controversy, King Richard will still be introducing promising new talent to a wider audience, particularly the young women who will step into the shoes of Venus and Serena Williams, Saniyya Sidney and Demi Singleton. Ahead of the movie's Nov. 19 release in theaters and on HBO Max, take a look at the actors alongside the real people they're portraying from around the same time.
Will Smith as Richard Williams
Richard Williams in Real Life
Richard Williams launched his daughters' history-making tennis careers into motion by putting them in tennis lessons around age 4. By 1995, he'd pulled them out of their tennis academy and started coaching them personally. Then, as both Venus and Serena became legendary players over the course of their careers, he pulled back from hands-on coaching. In recent years, he's been out of the public eye, although Serena recently shared a sweet video of Richard, now 79 years old, spending time with her daughter, Olympia.
Saniyya Sidney as Venus Williams
Venus Williams in Real Life
Venus, the elder of the two Williams sisters, has gone from young phenom to all-time tennis legend. Throughout her career, she has won seven Grand Slam singles titles, 14 Grand Slam doubles titles (all with sister Serena), and five Olympic medals (four gold and one silver). She also currently holds the record for most Grand Slams played for any player, man or woman.
Demi Singleton as Serena Williams
Serena Williams in Real Life
Like sister Venus, Serena has been on the tennis scene for decades, racking up the championships and accolades to become an all-time great. With 23 Grand Slam singles titles and counting, she has the most titles of the Open era (and is only one shy of the all-time record). She also has four Olympic gold medals and 14 Grand Slam doubles titles, along with a slew of other records, including being the only player ever to achieve a "Golden Slam" — winning all four majors and a gold medal in a single year — in both singles and doubles.
Aunjanue Ellis as Oracene Price
Oracene Price in Real Life
Oracene Price (center, with Serena and Venus) is the mother and coach of both Williams sisters. A less well-known figure to the public than their father, Richard, she has been a critical presence and motivator in their lives and careers nonetheless. "If my daughters said they couldn't do anything, I'd say, 'Yes, you can. You can do anything you want. Nothing is unattainable,'" she told Sports Illustrated in 1999.
Jon Bernthal as Rick Macci
Rick Macci in Real Life
Rick Macci, seen here on the left coaching Venus alongside Richard (right), is a tennis coach who coached some of the all-time greats. Besides the Williams sisters, he's coached Andy Roddick, Jennifer Capriati, Maria Sharapova, and several others. In 2017, he was inducted into the United States Professional Tennis Association's Hall of Fame, becoming the youngest professional ever to receive that honor.