Serena Williams’ life story is the subject of the film King Richards. Starring Will Smith, King Richards is a biography about the Williams family and their rise from humble beginnings to tennis royalty. In lead up to the film’s release, Serena and others involved in the movie have been making the promo rounds in support of it. In a recent interview she reveals how not everyone understood her parents tough love and strict training regimen, and almost got them taken away because of it.
According to the official synopsis, “King Richard is a 2021 American biographical drama film that follows the life of Richard Williams, the father and coach of famed tennis players Venus and Serena Williams.” Other breakdowns explain, “Driven by a clear vision of their future and using unconventional methods, Richard had a plan that will take Venus and Serena Williams from the streets of Compton, California to the global stage as legendary icons.”
Williams was inspired to teach his daughter tennis after receiving some lessons early in his life. He also sights seeing Virginia Ruzici playing tennis on television and motivation. In interviews, he recalls writing up an 85-page plan for how to make his daughters tennis stars, and started giving lessons to Venus and Serena when they were very young, about 4 years old. He’d take them to public tennis courts around the Los Angeles area to practice.
Serena Williams stopped by The Jimmy Kimmel Show to discuss the film, her father and some of their adventures. During the sit down she also opened up about her thoughts on Will Smith portraying her father as well as discussing a new song that Beyonce contributed to the project. Serena says that the movie is a trip down memory lane for her, and while she remembers a lot of it, there were things she say that she had forget. She said she was “bawling” her eyes out during the screening.
Kimmel, who has also seen a pre screener, asked Serena about a moment in the film where a neighbor decides to call CPS on her parents after suspecting some abuse. “Can I ask you about a couple things I was thinking about specifically when watching this movie? You had this neighbor that reported your parents, who were doting parents by any definition. [She] reported them to like child protective services? Did you ever run into that neighbor after?”
Serena laughed and responded “You know what? when you watch the movie my mom clearly scared her away. My moms a tough woman don’t mess with her!” They pair go on to discuss how they made the film so accurate, especially since Venus and Serena were so young for parts of it. Serena credits her sister Isha Price for helping to ensure that their story was told fully and accurately. Isha is an older sister from a different father. Unfortunately Isha’s father passed in 1979. Afterwards their mother went on and met Richard Williams. Isha has served as personal assistant for her sisters for much of their careers.