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3-min read

'Colourism Matters': Will Smith Playing Serena and Venus Williams' Father Sparks Debate Online

The 50-year-old actor is all set to play the father of tennis icons Venus and Serena Williams in the upcoming biopic 'King Richard.'

Anurag Verma | News18.com

Updated:March 6, 2019, 1:24 PM IST
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'Colourism Matters': Will Smith Playing Serena and Venus Williams' Father Sparks Debate Online
(Image: Reuters)
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Will Smith isn't having the best of times on social media.

First, the I Am Legend star faced the ire of the Internet when he appeared in YouTube's most-disliked video (ever), after which came the teaser of upcoming animated-classic Aladdin where fans dismissed the "very blue" looking genie Smith. And now, the Hollywood actor has upset social media again with the news of his next venture.

The 50-year-old is all set to play the father of tennis icons Venus and Serena Williams in the biopic King Richard.

The film will focus on coach Richard Williams overcoming controversy and skepticism, among other hardships he faced while training his daughters - all while having no knowledge of the sport himself, reported Variety.

That Will Smith was to play the role of Williams' father didn't go down too well with the movie fans.

Why?

Simply because Will Smith wasn't "dark enough" to resemble the Williams' 77-year-old father.

Netizens quickly questioned and criticised the makers for casting "light-skinned" black actor such as Smith and neglecting the other "darker" actors who would be more apt for the role according to them.

Another user made a reference to actress Scarlett Johansson who received backlash for the film Ghost In The Shell when she was controversially cast as Major Motoko Kusanagi, a character who was Asian in the original series that the film was based on. Last year in July, Johansson also withdrew from Rub & Tug after her plans to portray a transgender was met with a thumbs down from fans.

But there were many who felt that Smith was the right choice for King Richard.

As instyle.com points out, actress Amandla Stenberg pulled out from the auditions of Oscar-winning Black Panther last year and started a conversation around colourism as she felt that being a lighter-skinned black woman herself, she wasn't right for the role.

Meanwhile, tennis champion Serena Williams holds the record of most Grand Slam titles: 23 in singles, 14 in women's doubles, and 2 in mixed doubles.

Venus has won seven Grand Slam singles.

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