Monsters and Men filmmaker Reinaldo Marcus Green is set to direct the Will Smith movie King Richard for Warner Bros., Collider has learned.
James Lassiter will produce for Smith’s Overbrook banner along with Tim White and Trevor White of Star Thrower Entertainment. Jada Pinkett Smith and Caleb Pinkett will executive produce alongside Allan Mandelbaum.
Zach Baylin wrote the script, which tells the true story of the hardscrabble but iron-willed father of Venus and Serena Williams who had a plan to make his daughters the greatest tennis players in the world. The film will examine just how he managed to pull it off.
A recent graduate of NYU’s Tisch Graduate Film School, Green’s first narrative feature, Monsters and Men, had its world premiere at the 2018 Sundance Film Festival. The film received a Special Jury Prize for Outstanding First Feature, and was acquired by NEON for U.S. distribution. Green participated in the 2017 Sundance Institute Directors and Screenwriters Lab, where he was named a recipient of the 2017 Sundance Institute / Time Warner Fellowship. He was also one of Filmmaker Magazine’s 25 New Faces of Independent Film in 2015.
Interestingly enough, Indiewire writer Tambay Obenson points out that Green will be the first black filmmaker that Smith has ever worked with in his 25-plus-year career. I’m surprised it has taken this long, given Smith’s clout in the industry, but to echo Obenson’s tweet, it’s “better late than never,” I suppose.
In 2018, Green directed the first three episodes of the highly anticipated Netflix series Top Boy, executive produced by Drake and SpringHill Entertainment. Most recently, Green completed principle photography on his sophomore feature Good Joe Bell starring Mark Wahlberg and Connie Britton. He’s repped by WME and attorney André Des Rochers.
Warner Bros. will release King Richard on Nov. 25, 2020, which is the Wednesday before Thanksgiving. That’s also right in the heart of awards season, and believe me, WB will be pushing this inspirational true story for awards, especially when it comes to Smith, who has been nominated twice before for Ali and The Pursuit of Happyness.