Will Smith Paid Co-Stars From His Own Pocket When WB Added Film to HBO Max

Will Smith paid his King Richard co-stars out of his own pocket to make up for any shortfalls with the movie releasing on HBO Max. There has been a ton of chatter around the financial realities of the COVID-19 pandemic. One of the most hotly-contested debates is if stars should renegotiate their deals in light of the "decreased earning potential" In a piece from The Hollywood Reporter, they say that Smith decided to cut that conversation off at the pass. He got a reported $40 million to play Venus and Serena Williams' father and is sharing the wealth. The publication said that he personally wrote a check to Jon Bernthal, Tony Goldwyn, Saniyya Sidney, and Demi Singleton. Smith's representation has neither confirmed nor denied these reports. It wouldn't really be out of character for the star. This was clearly a passion project for one of the most beloved actors in Hollywood. 

He told EW how much the story appealed to him. "The first time we talked, I saw a little bit of a flash," Smith explained. "He was one of the most misunderstood people during that time. Nobody got it…He was so far ahead in terms of the balance between pushing and protecting, [and] had a savant-level comprehension of when those moments were."

Warner Bros. dropped a description of the film down below:

Based on the true story that will inspire the world, Warner Bros. Pictures' "King Richard follows the journey of Richard Williams, an undeterred father instrumental in raising two of the most extraordinarily gifted athletes of all time, who will end up changing the sport of tennis forever.  Two-time Oscar nominee Will Smith ("Ali," "The Pursuit of Happyness," "Bad Boys for Life") stars as Richard, under the direction of Reinaldo Marcus Green ("Monsters and Men").

Driven by a clear vision of their future and using unconventional methods, Richard has a plan that will take Venus and Serena Williams from the streets of Compton, California to the global stage as legendary icons.  The profoundly moving film shows the power of family, perseverance and unwavering belief as a means to achieve the impossible and impact the world.

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