Williams sisters withdraw support for 'Venus and Serena' documentary over father's portrayal

 

Venus and Serena Williams have withdrawn their support from a film which offers an unprecedented insight into the private lives of the champion tennis sisters following a disagreement over the portrayal of their father.

Compiled from 450 hours of footage and produced by an Oscar-winning team, the documentary “Venus and Serena” was expected to be a highlight of the Toronto International Film Festival.

The sisters lifted the veil on their closely-guarded privacy, awarding the filmmakers access to shoot in their homes, hotels and even hospital rooms over the course of a year.

However the sisters pulled out of an expected red carpet appearance at the film’s world premiere this week, timed to follow Serena’s fourth singles victory at the US Open, amid a dispute over the portrayal of Richard Williams as a controlling figure.

The film covers their father’s habit of interrupting his daughters’ interviewers from off-camera and the 78-page manifesto in which he plotted out the Grand Slam winning careers of his girls when they were in elementary school.

Williams’ personal life is also scrutinised, including the children he fathered out-of-wedlock.

According to the Los Angeles Times, eldest sister Venus took particular umbrage over her father’s portrayal and sought changes from the filmmakers, Maiken Baird and Michelle Major, who are ABC News veterans.

Changes were made to the film but they were not sufficient to accommodate Venus, according to reports.

Major said: “I’m disappointed the sisters didn't like everything that was being shown, because we really set out to tell a true story that was very inspiring.”

“Venus and Serena”, executive produced by Alex Gibney, an acclaimed documentarian who directed Enron: The Smartest Guys In The Room, is said to be largely complimentary towards the sisters.

It tells the story of their rise from LA’s tough Compton district to total domination over their sport and includes unguarded images of the sisters at play, performing at home karaoke parties, as well as their fight against serious injuries.

Carlos Fleming, Venus’ manager, said that his client accepted that the filmmakers did the best job they could “under the circumstances.” Fleming called it “an ambitious story to tell for any filmmaker, and we feel like anyone who would try to tell would find it challenging.”

Fleming said that a “scheduling conflict” had prevented Venus from attending but Film Festival sources indicated that the premiere date had been arranged to allow the sisters to attend.

Start your day with The Independent, sign up for daily news emails
  • Get to the point
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

iJobs Job Widget
iJobs People

Recruitment Genius: HR Manager

£36000 - £45000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This is an exciting opportunity...

Ashdown Group: HR Manager Shared Services - Uxbridge, - 1 Year contract

£50000 per annum: Ashdown Group: HR Manager Shared Services - Uxbridge, Stock...

Recruitment Genius: Graduate Human Resource Officer and Executive Assistant

Negotiable: Recruitment Genius: This is an exciting opportunity to join one of...

Ashdown Group: HR Assistant (Events business) - Central Manchester - £20K

£18000 - £20000 per annum + Benefits: Ashdown Group: HR Assistant (Events busi...

Day In a Page

Fishing for votes with Nigel Farage: The Ukip leader shows how he can work an audience as he casts his line to the disaffected of Grimsby

Fishing is on Nigel Farage's mind

Ukip leader casts a line to the disaffected
Who is bombing whom in the Middle East? It's amazing they don't all hit each other

Who is bombing whom in the Middle East?

Robert Fisk untangles the countries and factions
China's influence on fashion: At the top of the game both creatively and commercially

China's influence on fashion

At the top of the game both creatively and commercially
Lord O’Donnell: Former cabinet secretary on the election and life away from the levers of power

The man known as GOD has a reputation for getting the job done

Lord O'Donnell's three principles of rule
Rainbow shades: It's all bright on the night

Rainbow shades

It's all bright on the night
'It was first time I had ever tasted chocolate. I kept a piece, and when Amsterdam was liberated, I gave it to the first Allied soldier I saw'

Bread from heaven

Dutch survivors thank RAF for World War II drop that saved millions
Britain will be 'run for the wealthy and powerful' if Tories retain power - Labour

How 'the Axe' helped Labour

UK will be 'run for the wealthy and powerful' if Tories retain power
Rare and exclusive video shows the horrific price paid by activists for challenging the rule of jihadist extremists in Syria

The price to be paid for challenging the rule of extremists

A revolution now 'consuming its own children'
Welcome to the world of Megagames

Welcome to the world of Megagames

300 players take part in Watch the Skies! board game in London
'Nymphomaniac' actress reveals what it was really like to star in one of the most explicit films ever

Charlotte Gainsbourg on 'Nymphomaniac'

Starring in one of the most explicit films ever
Robert Fisk in Abu Dhabi: The Emirates' out-of-sight migrant workers helping to build the dream projects of its rulers

Robert Fisk in Abu Dhabi

The Emirates' out-of-sight migrant workers helping to build the dream projects of its rulers
Vince Cable interview: Charging fees for employment tribunals was 'a very bad move'

Vince Cable exclusive interview

Charging fees for employment tribunals was 'a very bad move'
Iwan Rheon interview: Game of Thrones star returns to his Welsh roots to record debut album

Iwan Rheon is returning to his Welsh roots

Rheon is best known for his role as the Bastard of Bolton. It's gruelling playing a sadistic torturer, he tells Craig McLean, but it hasn't stopped him recording an album of Welsh psychedelia
Russell Brand's interview with Ed Miliband has got everyone talking about The Trews

Everyone is talking about The Trews

Russell Brand's 'true news' videos attract millions of viewers. But today's 'Milibrand' interview introduced his resolutely amateurish style to a whole new crowd
Morne Hardenberg interview: Cameraman for BBC's upcoming show Shark on filming the ocean's most dangerous predator

It's time for my close-up

Meet the man who films great whites for a living