Will Smith paid his King Richard co-stars special bonuses

King Richard tells the story of Venus and Serena Williams

Sam Moore
Friday 05 November 2021 20:19
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Will Smith has paid out bonuses to the cast of King Richard from his own pocket, reports say.

The Hollywood Reporter claim that Smith wrote cheques for the cast after Warner Bros moved the film to a day-and-date release, which would see it premiere in cinemas and on HBO Max simultaneously.

Smith was reportedly paid $40m (£29.6m) for his role as Richard Williams, the father of tennis legends, Venus and Serena.

He is said to have given bonuses to the whole main cast, which features Jon Bernthal and Aunjanue Ellus, as well as Saniyya Sidney and Demi Singleton, who play Venus and Serena respectively.

Sidney and Singleton have previously praised Smith for his leadership abilities on set: “Being on set with him was an absolute blast. He made sure that everyone felt comfortable and safe and had a great time – it was never a dull moment – ever.”

Sidney added: “He made sure everyone felt included and felt the love. He has such a big heart.”

Layla Crawford, who has a small role in the movie as Lyndrea Price, said at the Red Notice premiere that Smith was frequently generous with gifts: “He gave us Polaroid cameras and different treats all the time. He’s just such a generous and sweet person. He also gave us iPhone 12 Pro Max gifts in boxes. We ripped them open and everyone started crying.”

Crawford continued: “I literally cried my eyes out – it was the best gift ever. Will Smith is a blessing, I learned so much from working with him.”

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King Richard premieres in cinemas and on HBO Max 19 November.

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