25 Jun – The Will Smith-starring biopic of tennis coach Richard Williams has not gone back into production but the drama sure has begun.
'Drama' as in the lawsuit that the team, including the actor himself, is now facing. TW3 Entertainment and Power Move Multi Media Inc have filed a lawsuit against Warner Bros Entertainment and Smith's company Overbrook Entertainment, as well as Star Thrower Entertainment and Richard Williams, according to The Blast.
They worked out a deal with LeSane to buy Williams' life and memoir rights for $10,000. They also sent a cease and desists to the producers of a competing project after they heard about it in July 2018. They met with Warner Bros. a few months later to pitch their story and following the studio's interest, a second meeting was set in October 2018.
However, in January 2019, they were informed that the studio was no longer interested in the biopic. This was followed by shocking news two months later when LeSane told them that a film deal, which included a more than USD1 million payment to Williams, had been worked out with the studio without the plaintiffs' involvement.
The plaintiffs were told they could no longer do a film based on the memoir, though they could still do a mini-series if they wanted.
The plaintiffs are now suing for unspecified damages, plus all profits from the movie is to be placed into a trust.
"King Richard" was first announced in March 2019, with Will Smith set to star and produce. Filming begun last January in Los Angeles but was halted since March due to the COVID-19 pandemic. This has forced the release date to be moved from this 25 November to 19 November 2021.