Inside the making of 'King Richard' film as actress reveals how Serena Williams and Venus were 'super involved'

SERENA and Venus Williams were "super involved” in the production of the movie King Richard, a tennis player who had a role in the hit-film has revealed. 

Marcela Zacarias, 28, who is a professional tennis player from Mexico said the most important element of the movie was to make sure every scene was "as realistic as possible" to the true Serena and Venus Williams tennis journey.

Zacarias was casted for the role of Arantxa Sanchez Vicario, a former professional tennis player from Spain who defeated Venus in her first professional tournament in 1994. 

“Basically all the roles were filled and they needed one last person to play the part of Arantxa Sanchez Vicario, someone that spoke Spanish as well and was a professional tennis player to keep it realistic,” Zacarias said in an exclusive interview with The Sun.

Zacarias was approached to do the trial for the movie after a producer watched her play a professional tournament in Newport Beach, CA in January 2020.

“The amount of work that went into filming each scene was incredible. Whether it was Richard’s, Venus’, Serena’s or my role, they wanted everything to be identical."

Zacarias reflects on Will Smith, who played Richard Williams in the movie as someone who took the role very seriously.

“Will Smith cared a lot about the movie, he took it really personally. That's what he said all the time.

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“Because he was representing someone that is still alive and has to copy and imitate someone to a T. 

“Richard was a phenomenal coach so Will definitely felt it was important to represent that perfectly.”

Read our King Richard live blog for the very latest news and updates…

Although the Williams sisters did not come on set every day, they were still “super involved” in the process and production of the film. 

Zacarias revealed Isha Price, Venus’ and Serena’s half-sister was “intense” when it came to filming and did not miss a second of it.

“Isha was the messenger, she was there every step of the way and was extremely intense. 

“She would tell us ‘No, no, your groundstrokes need to look more like this, more like Venus’ backhand. You need to drop your wrists more or put them lower.’

“There was pressure. She wanted to create the most realistic representation of Venus and Serena and what they do out on the tennis court.”

The movie, featured in theaters and on HBO Max, has garnered much attention from the tennis community and beyond.

Serena and Venus, who were both executive producers of the film, were “grateful” for the way the movie turned out.

“We went to the premiere party to watch the movie for the first time and Serena and Venus thanked all the stars,” Zacarias said.

“They said the result was very realistic and hope their story inspires people and sheds light on the type of person their dad was.”


Serena and Venus watched King Richard before any of the cast members. 

Speaking on The Graham Norton Show, Will Smith said: “They said they would see us through the process and exec produce, but they wanted to see the movie before they decided if they would put their names to it.

“It was the worst two hours of my life, but they were a mess with tears, and they loved it. I had made the mistake of watching Ali for the first time while sitting behind Muhammad Ali and mid-way through the movie, he turned to his wife and said, ‘Was I that crazy?'"

Reflecting on his role playing Richard, Will said: “[He] is a very difficult and a very complicated character.

“This is a film about family, about faith. It’s a film about big dreams, you’d have to be a Grinch to walk out of this film and not be inspired.”

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