Willow Smith Noticed a Change in Dad Will Smith's Parenting After His Role in 'King Richard'

Willow Smith noticed a change in dad Will Smith when he took on the role of Serena and Venus Williams' father, Richard Williams, in his new film King Richard. Venus and Serena joined the Oscar-nominated actor during Wednesday's Red Table Talk to discuss the biographical drama about their lives and relationship with their father, and the Hitch star shared that his family immediately related to the story as well. 

"Oh, yeah. They loved it," said Will of children Willow, 21, son Jaden, 23, both of whom he shares with wife Jada Pinkett Smith. "Willow is probably the most emotional art consumer in our family, so she loved it, and she could feel even my growth as a parent from having embodied some of Richard's ideas." He continued that as an actor, playing a character means "you always take something away," with some part of that person that "becomes you forever."

Will Smith Invites Venus and Serena to the Table

Will Smith is taking over the Table for an exclusive conversation with two of the greatest athletes ever – Venus and Serena Williams. It’s a revealing discussion about lessons, losses, wisdom and wins, behind the scenes stories from their critically acclaimed new film, King Richard, plus star-studded surprises from other greats: Simone Biles, Novak Djokovic and more. Later, the tennis icons are joined by their mother and sisters for their very first appearance as a family.

Posted by Red Table Talk on Tuesday, November 16, 2021

"And that was one of the first things that Willow said. She was like, 'That's why you started calling me three times a day,'" he admitted. Venus responded, "That's hilarious. Was she was like, 'OK, that's too many times?'" to which Will answered, "Yeah! She was like, 'OK, I get it, I get it.' Yeah, no, when she saw the 'Venus Williams, who is your best friend?' [scene] she was like 'Oh, OK. I get it. You want to be my best friend now.'"

Earlier this month, Will and the tennis superstar sisters opened up to Entertainment Weekly about the film, with Will revealing Richard "reminds me a lot of my father. It was that same generation – men that used to fix everything with their hands. I understood what it was like to live at the edge of survival and to try to sustain a dream." 

Venus added that she and Serena "got the sense of this is gonna be big, this is gonna be a serious film" when they learned The Pursuit of Happyness actor wanted to portray their father. "I love that it captured the innocence -- the innocence we still hang on to, actually," Venus said. "It's kind of difficult for me to say, 'Oh, this film shows me.' Because me is Serena. Me is my sisters. And there's no me without her, and I could have never done what I've been able to achieve on the court without her because I was also watching her and learning," King Richard premieres Nov. 19 in theaters and on HBO Max.