EXCLUSIVE: Saniyya Sidney (Fences, Hidden Figures) and Demi Singleton (Godfather of Harlem) have been cast as young Venus and Serena Williams, respectively, in the Will Smith-led Warner Bros biopic, King Richard. In addition, Emmy-nominated When They See Us star Aunjanue Ellis has also joined the film in the role of matriarch Brandi Williams.
Reinaldo Marcus Green is at the helm, directing from a script by Zach Baylin. It’s a true story of the hardscrabble but iron-willed father of Venus and Serena Williams who had a plan to make his daughters the greatest tennis players in the world. This is how he pulled it off.
The Williams sisters have remained dominating figures on the tennis court over the years and have collectively won a total of 30 Grand Slam singles titles and four Olympic gold medals.
The film, a Westbrook Studios and Star Thrower co-production, is being produced by Tim White, Trevor White, and James Lassiter with Allan Mandelbaum, Jada Pinkett Smith and Caleb Pinkett serving as executive producers. Peter Dodd is overseeing the project for the studio.
King Richard is slated to hit theaters on November 25.
Ellis will next be seen in the Lifetime movies, The Clark Sisters: The First Ladies of Gospel, as well as the Jordan Peele and J. J. Abrams-produced HBO series Lovecraft Country. Sidney’s credits include Fox’s short-lived series The Passage, Fences, Hidden Figures, and Fast Colors. Singleton currently recurs as Forest Whitaker’s character’s granddaughter in the Epix series Godfather of Harlem and was part of Broadway productions for Disney’s The Lion King and School Of Rock.
Ellis is repped by ICM, TMT Entertainment, and Kraditor & Haber; Sidney by CAA, Transcend Talent Management, and Ziffren Brittenham; Singleton by CESD, Teri B Talent, and Stone, Genow, Smelkinson, Binder & Christopher, LLP.