Will Smith looked totally unrecognizable while shooting scenes for an upcoming film about superstar tennis players Serena and Venus Williams — and the man who coached them! The 51-year-old actor will portray the girls’ father in King Richard, who became renowned for coaching his young daughters to stardom. Will was seen on set for the first time with his on-screen daughters (Saniyya Sidney, 13, plays Venus and Demi Singleton, 12, portrays Serena) while filming scenes on a tennis court in Los Angeles on Feb. 28. He sported a hot pink polo shirt, tiny red shorts, high socks, and a salt and pepper beard. It totally looked like he just stepped out of the 90s!
While on set, Will was seen standing in front of a cart of tennis balls, in his vibrant ensemble. He also appeared super in character, wearing a very intense expression on the court, perhaps a nod to the tennis dad’s push for his daughters to have a well-rounded physical and mental training schedule. He was also snapped with The Walking Dead star Jon Bernthal, who will play the Williams’ coach Rick Macci. Jon sported a mustache, a multicolored polo, and super short shorts, as he laughed with Will while filming a scene together.
Will’s young co-stars also looked the part, as they rocked matching white polo shirts, braids pulled into an up-do, and vertically striped shorts in pastel pink and yellow. Saniyya recently took to Instagram to gush over how excited she was to star alongside Will. “Game on…I’m playing Venus Williams!!! With Will Smith as my Dad!!! One Love to my incredible team. Champions on the court,” she captioned the Jan. 10 post.
The Reinaldo Marcus Green-directed film, which Will is also producing, will focus on Richard’s journey through controversy and hardship, and how he coached two of the greatest tennis players of all time. After showing early promise, the home schooled Williams sisters moved to West Palm Beach, Florida to attend Rick Macci’s tennis academy in 1991. At the time, Serena was 10 and Venus was 11. Just four years later, their dad pulled them out of the academy and returned to coaching them himself. We can’t wait to see this flick when it heads to cinemas in November!