Venus and Serena Williams‘ true and powerful story about how they became tennis stars is about to hit the big screen. King Richard takes a deep dive into the major role their father, Richard Williams, played in their success.
Tony Goldwyn, who plays Paul Cohen aka the Williams sisters’ first tennis coach, was touched by their story and told ABC Audio, “It’s deeply inspiring about family and the power of family.”
The movie focuses on how Richard, played by Will Smith, labored to make his girls’ “dreams come true” and, while Goldwyn admits he knew the basics of the story, he didn’t know the details.
“I had no idea that Richard Williams had a vision and wrote, I think a 75 or 80 page manifesto before Venus and Serena were even born,” remarks the 61-year-old. “He literally envisioned this and wrote a plan and then implemented it in the most extraordinary way. You just couldn’t make this stuff up!”
Goldwyn also notes that, despite his ambition, Richard nor the girls’ mother, Oracene, were brutal taskmasters.
“It was something borne out of love and passion. And if the girls ever didn’t want to do it, they didn’t have to,” he explains. “Tennis became this metaphor for them, for building their character as human beings.”
The Scandal alum also salutes the parents for ensuring the sport didn’t “rob [Venus and Serena] of their childhood” nor allowing them to become spoiled by “the pressures of competitive tennis.”
Goldwyn also reserved some high praise for Smith, saying he was “super fun” to work with and made people “feel relaxed in his presence.”
Additionally, he teased, “In this movie, [Will] just brings his A-plus game.”
King Richard premieres Friday in theaters and on HBO Max.
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