Will Smith chats with Venus, Serena Williams on ‘Red Table Talk’

Smith "takes over" the Red Table to talk sports, lessons learned, and more with the tennis legends.

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Red Table Talk, known for its nuanced and engaging conversations, may have dropped its most exciting episode yet. Ahead of the release of King Richard, Will Smith took over the series and brought tennis legends Venus and Serena Williams to the table to discuss signing on to executive produce the film, their record-breaking careers and lessons they’ve learned along the way from their parents.

In Warner Bros.’ King Richard, Smith stars as Richard Williams, father and the first coach to Venus and Serena. One of the year’s most highly anticipated films, the story focuses on the early days of their professional career as the sisters begin to train and make a splash on the world stage. King Richard releases in theaters on Friday and on HBO Max.

With awards buzz already building, the film has everyone talking about Venus and Serena’s path to global superstardom. For the sisters, however, it’s “still surreal.”

Red Table Talk Will Smith Venus Serena thegrio.com
(Credit: Facebook Watch)

After watching the trailer, Serena revealed that it made her “super, super emotional.” While both Venus and Serena are executive producers on King Richard, they didn’t sign on until they viewed the finished project. Serena explained that their story is complicated and nuanced, especially considering the unconventional way their father fought to break barriers for his daughters to succeed in tennis.

Plus, Serena quipped with Smith, Hollywood can “get it right or get it wrong sometimes.” Luckily, they got it right with King Richard.

“For me, I wanted to honor the two of you and to honor your family in a way that will resonate with your heart forever,” Smith revealed.

Smith likened his approach to the film to when he played Muhammad Ali in 2001’s Ali, which he did not want to do at first. “Muhammad Ali asked me personally…it is such a daunting task. What you guys represent and what you created, your story is one of the most inspirational stories in American history,” Smith said.

He likened a movie to a snapshot that “lasts forever,” revealing, “you don’t want to take a terrible picture of such beautiful subjects.”

Venus shared that, through their intense tennis coaching, lessons about life were instilled in them along the way. “My mom and dad, they wanted us to be able to handle whatever life came at us, so the way that we approached tennis was also the way that we approached life,” she said.

“They wanted us to be champions in life and that turned out pretty good!” Venus added.

Vensu Serena Williams thegrio.com
(L-R) Serena Williams and Venus Williams attend the 2021 AFI Fest Closing Night Premiere of Warner Bros. “King Richard” at TCL Chinese Theatre on November 14, 2021 in Hollywood, California. (Photo by Emma McIntyre/Getty Images)

The Red Table Talk serves as the first time Venus and Serena are joined by their mother and sisters in a media appearance. The episode is available now on Facebook Watch.

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