Actresses Demi Singleton and Saniyya Sidney recently spoke to 'The Hollywood Reporter' about their experiences playing young Venus and Serena Williams in 'King Richard' - a biopic on the Williams sisters' father.
When asked how the experience changed her and what she learned from her portrayal of Serena Williams, Demi Singelton emphasized that the legendary sisters ooze confidence every time they walk into a room or take the court. She revealed that playing someone with such a quality helped her become a more confident person herself.
"They both have this confidence to them," Demi Singleton said of Venus and Serena Williams, "you could feel that coming off them every time they walked in a room or stepped onto a court. I feel like playing somebody who’s that confident helped me grow my confidence within myself."
King Richard releases today!!! Can’t believe it’s finally here!!," Saniyya captioned her Instagram post.
The young actresses were then asked to elaborate on how they embraced their roles, which required them to learn tennis from scratch. Sidney, a left-hander, even had to learn to play the sport with her right hand for her role as Venus Williams.
Demi Singleton admitted that learning to play the sport in the amount of time they had was not easy, given how both she and Sidney were novices at it. Sidney added that they focused on imbibing the unique playing-styles of the Williams sisters over the course of their tennis training.
"Neither of us had played tennis before," Singleton continued. "That was a very new sport for us. Learning to play in the amount of time we had was not easy, especially playing two of the greatest athletes of all time. I feel like if we were just learning to play like Saniyya and Demi, rather than Venus and Serena, it would’ve been a bit easier."
"We had to be very specific because Venus and Serena have different styles of play. We had to mimic a lot of their hits and their serves, so that’s what we focused on most," Sidney added.
"We didn’t know what to do with ourselves, I was crying in the corner, it was a hot mess" - Demi Singleton on meeting Venus and Serena Williams on set
Demi Singleton proceeded to talk about how she and Saniyya Sidney were "all over the place" upon meeting Venus and Serena Williams for the first time when the tennis greats surprised them on set. Singelton revealed that she was in a "hot mess" and ended up crying in a corner out of nervousness.
She realized that on court they might be fierce players, but off it they are just "normal people".
"When they surprised us on set, that was the first time I had actually gotten to speak with them," Singleton said. "We didn’t know what to do with ourselves; we were all over the place. I was crying in the corner. It was a hot mess.
"But I feel like [Saniyya and I] both realized that there was no need to worry. We see them as these amazing athletes [who] just don’t have time to play around, but outside of that, they’re just normal people," she added.