King Richard is an upcoming film about Richard Williams, the father of tennis superstars Serena and Venus Williams. Will Smith will play the dad in the upcoming biopic, which is now currently being sued. Why? Because, apparently; Williams had already sold the rights to portray his life story to someone else. A Los Angeles state court lawsuit was filed on Tuesday. The lawsuit claims that King Richard is based on a multi-million dollar breach of contract. The lawsuit also demands that the court orders all of the profits made from the movie are placed in a trust until this dispute is resolved.
Here is what the court papers say:
“This case presents an unfortunate and tawdry situation: the cold and calculating misappropriation and interference with plaintiffs’ intellectual property. Plaintiffs’ good faith and contractually protected efforts to bring an amazing story into visual art form were met with defendants’ greed and disregard for Plaintiff’s existing rights.”
According to the suit, TW3 Entertainment and Power Move Multimedia are the actual owners of the Richard Williams story based on them buying the rights to his 2014 memoir, “Black and White: The Way I See It”. This purchase was for $10,000 from Williams’ son and his business partner Chavoita Lesane in 2017. Lesane is named in the suit, along with Will Smith, his production company Overbrook Entertainment, and Warner Bros.
TW3 is a smaller movie and video game studio that’s owned by producer Tom Walsh and Power Move. The studio was behind the first season of Love & Hip Hop in NY.
TW3 claims that Lesane has been given the power of attorney by Williams for “purposes of dealing with film and media rights for his book.” It also claims that the son was involved in an initial draft of a script similar to King Richard.
It was not long after that Williams struck a deal to sell his life rights (I know, that sounds bad) to Warner Bros. for $1 million. The lawsuit claims that the defendants knew previously that TW3 had previously owned the rights to Williams’ book. They simply did not reach out or look to compensate them.
King Richard is directed by Reinaldo Marcus Green and is set to be released in late 2021. Joining Smith, Saniyya Sidney will play Venus Williams, Demi Singleton will play Serena Williams, and Jon Bernthal, Liev Schreiber, and Dylan McDermott will join.
Source: NY Post
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