Venus and Serena Williams refuse to support documentary about their lives

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Venus and Serena Williams have withdrawn their support for an upcoming tennis documentary about their meteoric rise to stardom. The film, called Venus and Serena, which offers an exclusive look into the private lives of the sisters, was objected to over the content, especially the way the filmmakers portrayed their father, Richard Williams, as a controlling figure.

According to the Los Angeles Times, the sisters will not be attending the Tuesday premiere of the film at the Toronto International. Filmmakers Maiken Baird and Michelle Major expressed regret over losing the support of the Williams sisters.

“It’s disappointing to us,” Major said. “We have a lot of respect for them and think their story is very inspiring.” The Times reports:

“The finished film looks at the rise of the two Compton natives to the pinnacle of their sport, their lives behind-the-scenes and the colorful personalities who have guided them or been part of their rise. It is largely complimentary to the sisters, showing their work ethic and their humor.

But it does explore some of Richard Williams’ foibles, from his out-of-wedlock children to a 78-page manifesto he had plotting out his daughters’ success at a very young age. That angered the sisters, particularly Venus, according to the person with knowledge of the disagreement.”

Some tweaks were made to the film that was compiled from some 450 hours of footage after Venus Williams expressed some concerns at the first viewing back in August, but that has since proved insufficient to get the sisters back on board. The filmmakers were given full access to shoot at the sisters’ closely guarded homes, hotels, and hospital rooms over the course of a year.

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