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.
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.
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 — Pikliz Papi (@so_rudez) March 5, 2019
Should’ve had Dennis Haysbert play him!!! pic.twitter.com/ExwPOcgfvs — Erisie 🇿🇼 (@brittnaynayy) March 5, 2019
It's not about skin colour. Will Smith can not act. Give me Idris Elba. — David Bourne (@DavidBourne1978) March 5, 2019
Was Idris Elba busy ? — aaron charlow (@acharlowmedia) March 5, 2019
Scratching my head at the Will Smith casting but also... congrats to the writer who put their script on @theblcklst and now has Will Smith in their film! https://t.co/ltUGNo2wXx — Driadonna.com (@DreeTV) March 5, 2019
1. Too young 2. Looks nothing like him. 3. Too light 4. The complexion 5. The skin tone 6. The melanin (or lack thereof) 1. Not all black people need to be played Will Smith. Stop casting dark roles with light skinned (or more well known) actors. I thought we were past this... https://t.co/2GofmPDe5t — Erica Payne (@chillaerie) March 6, 2019
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.
Scarlett Johansson might as well play Venus with this kind of mess casting https://t.co/GmDItxrjJm — Candis R McLean (@CandisRMcLean) March 5, 2019
But there were many who felt that Smith was the right choice for King Richard.
I'm confused. Apparently some people are complaining about Will Smith's casting in this because he is too light?!? Sure he's not as dark as Mr. Williams but he is a good actor and a bankable asset. https://t.co/01lyplIQZ2 — Tree Macron (@aquanette69) March 5, 2019
I’m telling you my guy not stopping till he gets the Oscar! https://t.co/rXBkyRqPhO — Russian Cream (@SupaEngineer) March 5, 2019
What'd I say on MovieTalk last week? Will Smith needs to remind the world what a damn good actor he is! Lo and behold, today brings news he'll play the father of Venus & Serena Williams in KING RICHARD. Sounds like a great role for him to me! https://t.co/C7mxc0SIXS — Jeff Sneider (@TheInSneider) March 4, 2019
Right! Like the actor won’t always look like who he’s playing. — Whitney Valcin (@iamVavay) March 5, 2019
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.