Why Will Smith Portraying Venus and Serena Williams’ Dad in New Film Is Causing Controversy: ‘Was Idris Elba Busy’

Sparked by a report this week out of trade magazine Deadline, it has been announced that Will Smith is close to signing up to play the role of Venus and Serena Williams‘ father Richard Williams in a movie titled “King Richard.” But there are plenty who believe Smith would be the wrong choice.

Folks aren’t questioning Smith’s acting ability, they have a problem with his looks and say that he’s too light to play Williams, who has a darker complexion. And names like Idris Elba and Mahershala Ali came up as actors who some thought should play the role instead.

A lot of people are saying Will Smith doesn't have a dark enough complexion to play Richard Williams in a new movie.

Will Smith (left) is slated to portray Richard Williams, father of tennis stars Venus and Serena Williams. (Photos: Instagram/Wikimedia Commons)

“I love Will Smith but um… They couldn’t find a darker actor to play this role?” someone wrote on Tuesday.

“Was Idris Elba busy?” another person asked.

“And Oscar nomination for best makeup goes to ..whoever makes him look like Mr Williams ! Lmao ,” a third person tweeted.

But there were some who felt the total opposite and said Smith should be judged by his acting ability alone, not how light or dark he is.

“So let me understand that a black man can only play a black man now if he is the right shade of black,” someone tweeted on Tuesday. “So that case Denzel Washington should never played Malcom x. We as black people only brings ourselves down.”

“Will is a box office draw,” a second person commented. “I can’t believe he is getting noise about not being dark enough. He is an awesome actor whose movies I will always go see. …. Even if he plays Jesus whom we all know was black.”

“King Richard” reportedly will tell the story of how Williams trained his two daughters to become two of the best tennis players in the world, although he had no background in the sport himself.

Williams has said he drew up a 78-page plan for his daughters’ tennis future and trained them on run-down courts in their Compton, Calif., neighborhood. Today Serena Williams has a record 23 Grand Slam singles titles, and Venus Williams has seven.

Smith hasn’t commented on the controversy surrounding his role yet, but the chatter on social media continues.

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