Video courtesy of Warner Bros.

Will Smith, who has plenty of experience raising talented kids, has found himself some young queens.

For King Richard, the two-time Oscar nominee is Richard Williams, the determined father of tennis legends Venus and Serena Williams. While Smith is already being hailed as an awards frontrunner, it's quickly apparent that he's met his match in a pair of promising actresses (and journalists!): his costars Saniyya Sidney, 15, who plays Venus, and Demi Singleton, 14, who plays Serena.

Demi Singleton as Serena Williams, Saniyya Sidney as Venus Williams, and Will Smith as Richard Williams in 'King Richard.'
| Credit: Chiabella James/Warner Bros.

Read part of the ace interview below, or watch the full video above.

DEMI SINGLETON: Mr. Will, we have a couple of questions for you, and I'd like you to answer as honestly as possible.

WILL SMITH: No! I'm a movie star, I have to keep a persona.

SANIYYA SIDNEY: Oh my goodness. Okay, so who was your favorite costar in the movie? And don't say Jon [Bernthal].

SINGLETON: It better be me.

SMITH: You know what the most fun for me was? Those times in the bus with five daughters. Girls are really different than boys. One of the things I noticed with girls is everything was complimentary and added to things going on. It was pleasant. Whereas with boys, somebody hits somebody in the head with something.

King Richard
Credit: Ryan Pfluger for EW

SINGLETON: Why did you decide to take this role?

SMITH: I love stories where you think you know. You pull the veil back when people didn't know there was a veil. Richard Williams was wildly misunderstood. I enjoyed being able to humanize a figure that had been somewhat demonized in the sport. He's actually a genius. He planned two Michael Jordans. Think about how wild that is.

SINGLETON: We know that you've done real-life stories before.

SMITH: Ali, Pursuit of Happyness, Concussion. You guys now know, it's really scary when you play a person.

SIDNEY: Especially if they're still living.

SINGLETON: So how do you approach those roles differently?

SMITH: Because of COVID, I wasn't able to spend a lot of time with Richard. So, it's tons of tape, interviews, he wrote a book. I'm always trying to find what is most like me. The thing that I connected to with Richard was the sense that nobody believed in him. When you have a big, giant dream and everybody keeps telling you how wrong you are, how silly you are, and how impossible that is. That's where I started to build out what makes him tick. Beyond that, I was using my relationship with [my daughter] Willow to understand the development of a young woman.

SINGLETON: Wow, you have very impactful answers.

SMITH: Well, I be trying to say some stuff that'll last, you know?

SIDNEY: You've been doing this for a long time.

SMITH: Over 30 years in the business. You weren't even born.

SIDNEY: You're an OG in my eyes.

SMITH: I'm an OG!

SIDNEY: What advice would you give us [for] our careers?

SMITH: I had time to watch you both on set for almost a year, so, in terms of the work, you've got that part. You know how to put your head down [and] work through adversity. One of the things that my grandmother said to me is, "Be careful how you treat people on your way up, because you might have to pass them again on your way down." Be conscious of the people you are interacting with — you're going to see them over and over again. They're going to carry the energy with them of how you treat them. And there's going to be lean years. Right now, you're out in the world with a movie that everybody loves, with performances that everyone's applauding. And one day you're going to be out there with Wild Wild West. [Laughs] So you want to have made friends on your way up, because they're going to hold you up when things aren't as sweet.

King Richard premieres Nov. 19 in theaters and on HBO Max.

To read more on King Richardorder the December issue of Entertainment Weekly or find it on newsstands Nov. 12. Don't forget to subscribe for more exclusive interviews and photos, only in EW.

Related content:

King Richard (2021 movie)

Will Smith stars in this biopic about the father of tennis legends Venus and Serena Williams.

  • Movie

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