Will Smith has just been cast to play the role of Serena Williams' and Venus Williams' father Richard Williams in the new biopic 'King Richard'. However, not everyone is pleased with the decision and social media users took to expressing their disappointment and dismay online.
According to Twitter users, Will Smith's skin is not dark enough to resemble Richard Williams. Sports writer Clarence Hill Jr. took to Twitter to write, "Colorism matters. Love Will Smith but there are other black actors for this role." Another user commented, "Sure Will Smith is black BUT he is a light-skinned black who is palatable to white audiences. Richard Williams is an outspoken dark-skinned black man. Yes, skin tone matters a lot on how you are treated in society."
I love will but seriously?? Idris would have been perfect for this. pic.twitter.com/kWn20PMHXR— I write..😛💋💋 (@Ebonydiamonds19) March 5, 2019
Another critic said, "I dig Will immensely but plenty other brothas that could better portray Mr. Williams in appearance." Many users also questioned why other black actors such as Idris Elba or Mahershala Ali had not been considered for the role. One user wrote, "Was Idris Elba busy?" People on Twitter compared the situation to the time when Zoe Saldana had been cast to play Nina Simone in the film 'Nina' in 2016.
Mahershala Ali isn’t available???— sandiesideup 🌈 (@sandiesideup) March 4, 2019
Zoe who is of Dominican and Puerto Rican descent sported dark makeup and also a prosthetic nose in the film. At the time, TV writer Ira Madison took to Twitter to say, "Is the make-up artist from NINA available?"
However, there are many people who are not against Will Smith's casting and showed their support. One Twitter user wrote, "This is really pathetic and sad. He is an awesome actor and will play hell out of it. Doesn't matter his skin color. It's the talent!"
Another user shared, "So now you've got to be black as coal to be black. Will Smith is a fantastic actor." A third supporter commented, "I cannot believe people are actually saying he is not dark enough. These days people have just lost their minds."
The biopic 'King Richard' will follow the story of Richard Williams and how he helped his two young daughters rise to fame, all from the courts of Compton, California. Legendary tennis star Serena Williams has gone on to win 23 Grand Slam singles titles while her sister Venus has won seven Grand Slam singles.
Will Smith is also one of the producers of the biopic. 'King Richard' is based on a script written by Zach Baylin, which was a runner-up on the 2018 Black List.