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    Will Smith Might Be Playing Venus And Serena Williams' Father In A Film And It's Sparked A Debate About Colourism

    "Love Will Smith but there are other black actors for this role."

    So you might have heard that Will Smith is being tipped to play Richard Williams, father to tennis legends Venus and Serena Williams, in a film called King Richard.

    Jason Merritt / Getty Images

    According to Deadline Hollywood, the project will chronicle the life of the Louisiana-born tennis coach, including his dedication to raising his daughters in Compton, California, amid adversity, and developing them into sporting champions.

    The script, written by Zach Baylin, was a runner-up on the 2018 Black List, an annual survey of Hollywood executives' favourite screenplays that are yet to be produced. Past winners include Slumdog Millionaire and American Hustle.

    Professional Sport / Getty Images

    The 77-year-old, who started training the Williams sisters at the age of 4 and a half, is credited as the force behind their dominant sporting careers. His methods included devising a 78-page plan that lays out the blueprint for their training after removing them from tennis academy and opting to train Venus and Serena himself.

    However, reports that Smith is the frontrunner for the role has sparked a debate about the potential casting choice, including comments on colourism.

    Matthew Stockman / Getty Images

    Some people think the role should go to a darker-skinned actor.

    Why is he always cast in roles portraying dark skin men like there aren’t tons of black actors that would make more sense for the role? https://t.co/1VcZyCmwTK

    Smith was nominated for an Oscar for his portrayal of Muhammad Ali in Ali, and has also portrayed Chris Gardner in The Pursuit of Happyness, and also Dr Bennet Omalu in the film Concussion.

    Colorism matters..love will Smith but there are other black actors for this role https://t.co/qrV1QuBiJH

    ?? was mahershala not available or any other darker skinned male actor ever?? https://t.co/tBNwgxl8hj

    Is he going to be in blackface? I know there's a dark skinned actor that can play this role. https://t.co/Ilr05aMbuQ

    Some people have offered their own suggestions for who they think would be a better fit.

    @DEADLINE I would rather see Mahershala Ali or Idris Elba. Colman Domingo would be great too.

    @DEADLINE Mahershala Ali isn’t available???

    @DEADLINE Idris Elba or Denzel Washington would’ve been a better choice than Will Smith for the role of their father.

    I think Courtney B Vance wouldve been great for this... but okay. https://t.co/iQl881jMmJ

    Some people have even compared Will Smith to Scarlett Johansson, who has become a running joke for actors who repeatedly take up roles they are considered unsuitable for.

    Will Smith is turning into Scarlett Johansson... I hope I later find out that Don Cheadle turned this role down https://t.co/txqyOfF59s


    Scarlett Johansson might as well play Venus with this kind of mess casting https://t.co/GmDItxrjJm

    Scarlett Johansson didn't get the part, what a shame?😳😳😳😳😳 https://t.co/bZgT1OuqbO

    Scarlett Johanson is RIGHT THERE. UGH. 🙄🙄 https://t.co/OOg12KwFz3

    Was Scarlett not available? https://t.co/sWfYIc2Bfu

    But there are some fans who are in Will's corner and think he is up to the task.

    @DEADLINE it's called acting 🤦, for those saying will is too fine or idris Elba looks more like him, Hollywood does wonders with makeup. Anyways I'm definitely here for it

    I’m telling you my guy not stopping till he gets the Oscar! https://t.co/rXBkyRqPhO

    And some people think the accusations of colourism are absurd.

    @so_rudez So you know #WillSmith is BLACK right??? This is reverse #colorism and one of the reason we have issues within our community. #WillSmith congratulations!!! 🍾🎉🎊

    @so_rudez So you know #WillSmith is BLACK right??? This is reverse #colorism and one of the reason we have issues within our community. #WillSmith congratulations!!! 🍾🎉🎊

    As a white guy I understand the outrage when a caucasian is picked to play a chinese person in a movie, and 'blacking up' is obviously unacceptable - but this is bizarre. Apparently Will Smith is not black enough to play the father of the Williams sisters?! Down to shades now? https://t.co/Ri0gnJmlwv

    BuzzFeed News has reached out to representatives for Will Smith for further comment.




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