Actresses Saniyya Sidney and Demi Singleton recently spoke to 'Elle UK' about their experience portraying Venus and Serena Williams in the film King Richard. The biopic on the Williams sisters' father, Richard Williams, was released on November 19.
When asked to explain how she reacted to meeting the Williams sisters on set, Saniyya Sidney revealed that she was "hysterically crying." Sidney said she was excited to present their story to the world and "couldn't wait" to begin playing the role of Venus Williams.
"I was hysterically crying," Saniyya Sidney said. "But I was so excited I just couldn't wait to tell their story. I was in love with the script and I couldn't wait to jump into my childhood hero's shoes. I was ready."
Echoing Sidney's comments, Demi Singleton said the Williams sisters are "strong black women" whom they idolize.
"I definitely felt the same way. As Saniyya mentioned Serena and Venus [Williams], they're both our childhood heroes and strong black women that we look up to," Demi Singleton said.
When asked how they prepared for their roles, Singleton revealed that she and Saniyya Sidney did their own research prior to filming. She explained that it was easier for them to find old pictures and videos of Venus Williams than Serena, since the former rose to fame earlier than her younger sister.
"Before we started filming, we did our own research," Singleton continued. "We were looking on the internet for archival videos and photos of when they were little girls. For Serena Williams, specifically, there aren't a whole lot of them out there, not as many as Venus, because Venus kind of stepped into the spotlight a bit before Serena did so it was a little bit difficult for me."
"Learning how to play like two of the greatest athletes of all time was very difficult" - Demi Singleton on how she trained for the role of Serena Williams
Demi Singleton proceeded to shed light on her training regime for the film. She revealed that it comprised two to three hours of daily tennis practice on weekdays, before and after the COVID-19 outbreak.
She admitted that although it was difficult to learn the unique playing styles of Venus and Serena Williams, she and Saniyya Sidney were up for the challenge.
"We did a lot of tennis training. For me it was two to three hours a day, Monday through Friday. It was a month and a half before and after COVID. And learning how to play like two of the greatest athletes of all time is very difficult. But I think we were both up for the challenge because of what the story is," said the 14-year-old.