(AFP) – “The Williams Method” follows the incredible rise of champions Serena and Venus Williams, from the tennis courts of an underprivileged suburb of Los Angeles to ‘to victories in the biggest tournaments in the world.
In addition to the two sisters, a third character is the pillar of this film which will be released this week in the United States (December 1 in France): their father, trainer and manager, Richard Williams, played by Will Smith, some of whom are already saying that he could win his first Oscar thanks to this performance.
Will Smith is “fell in love with Richard Williams” a long time ago, when he saw this man flying to the rescue of Venus, then only 14 years, in taken with an overly pushy reporter during an interview.
“That expression on Venus’s face … the image is etched in my heart,” said the actor during a press conference via internet.
“J knew I wanted to show the world a father protecting his daughter like that, “says Will Smith, who is also the producer of this Warner Bros. Studios feature film
More than the sporting exploits of the Williams sisters, the film seeks to show how this united and unusual family managed to escape from a poor neighborhood, mainly African-American, to reach fame.
Self-taught trainer, Richard Williams had for example drawn up, even before the birth of his daughters, a plan in 78 pages laying down the milestones for Venus and Serena to become the best players in the world. The idea came to him after discovering the prize amounts given to the winners of tennis tournaments.
Venus – whose seven Grand Slam titles will be eclipsed by the 23 won by Serena – occupies more of the screen in this story: she paved the way for her little sister by achieving a series of victories in junior tournaments.
“I love that Venus opened doors and her sister rushed in,” Saniyya Sidney, who plays the oldest in “La Williams Method “.
Growing up seeing” girls who look like me in a sport that is primarily a white man’s sport means a lot to me, “adds the actress.
– “Revolutionaries” –
The film shows Richard Williams’ efforts to find his daughters a professional trainer at upscale tennis clubs in California, where he was greeted by the mocks ries and racist prejudices.
The Williams family has also boycotted for fourteen years the very select tournament in Indian Wells, California, after boos that Richard Williams considered as racist and which Serena would later compare to a “luxury lynching.”
Serena has a touchy character that has often resulted in spat with sports authorities. At the Roland Garros tournament, she was forbidden to wear an all-black outfit, directly inspired by the movie “Black Panther”.
“Every time they come to the court, they are revolutionaries on the move “, estimates Aunjanue Ellis, who plays in the film the mother of the Williams sisters.
” The tennis industry is still looking to this day to regulate their creativity, she tries to police with their genius and has not succeeded, “she told AFP.
Will Smith, him -same father of three, drew on for his role in how Richard Williams has protected his daughters throughout their careers.
“It’s like (Venus) had a lion that she knew was never going to let anything happen to her, “he said.
Venus, Serena and two half-sisters took part in the production, unlike Richard, presented in a positive light by the film but with allusions to marital infidelities.
Ini Originally, the filmmakers had planned to put makeup on Will Smith to give him the face of Father Williams, but they finally decided to leave it to him to convince the viewer with his acting skills.
“He slipped into the shoes of Richard Williams, who has all that exuberance of Will Smith but also that very different side, it was surprising to see,” said his on-screen partner Tony Goldwyn.
Unsuccessful Oscar candidate with “Ali” and “In search of happiness”, Will Smith is currently the favorite of the predictions in the race for the statuette of the best actor next February.