Reinaldo Marcus Green, the black and Latino director of “King Richard,” speaks about fathers and sports.
They’re regarded as two of the greatest tennis players of all time.
Reinaldo Marcus Green, a Black and Latino film director, aims to transport spectators to a time before Venus and Serena Williams were champions — when all they had was an ambitious plan devised by a dedicated father who wore short shorts and a cowboy hat on a tennis court in Compton, California.
“King Richard,” directed by Green, opens nationally on Friday and depicts the tale of Richard Williams, the father of Venus and Serena Williams (played by Will Smith). He embarks on a family journey from modest origins to the brink of tennis fame and prosperity with his wife, Oracene ‘Brandy’ Williams (played by Aunjanue Ellis).
In an interview with News, Green said of Williams, “To the outside world, he was fairly contentious, vocal, and colourful.”
The filmmaker grew interested in showcasing another side of Williams’ character after meeting the family and hearing their tale.
“He was simply a parent trying to do the best he could with the resources he had to do right by his kids.” “No one is flawless,” Green said. “He’s picked up some valuable lessons along the road.” At the conclusion of our film, he had to accept that his girls were growing up, and he had to figure out what to do when that happened. Do you tighten your grip or relax?”
Green was born in the Bronx and grew up on Staten Island and other areas of New York City. His father is Black and his mother is Puerto Rican. Green said that his neighbourhood was similar to Compton.
Green’s mother and father opted to have him and his sibling live with their father when his parents split. Green said, “They really wanted us to have a father figure in the family.” “It was also essential for my mother.”
The filmmaker said he can’t help but compare his father to Williams, who was raising two boys to be big league baseball stars.
“We had a father who was comparable to ours… I was born and raised on a baseball field. I was a trip and all-star baseball player “Green, who also played in college, agreed. “My father, too, was dressed in short shorts. So I understood what it was like to grow up with a father who other people thought was a bit odd, but who you knew deep down was a great man.”
When depicting the narrative of two Black sisters who became champions in a sport that has been unavailable to many different youngsters, Green wanted to convey that degree of intricacy and sincerity to audiences.
The film, according to the filmmaker, is a one-of-a-kind look into the Williams sisters’ early existence. Viewers will watch them take their initial steps toward becoming pros at an early age, as their parents laid the groundwork for all of their future tennis and other achievements.
Green described them as “ambassadors for their neighbourhood.” “Tennis is only one facet of what they’ve accomplished.”
Increasing judicial diversity
Carlos Mendez, the founder of the Multicultural Tennis Association, recalls seeing tennis courts in his mostly Latino East Los Angeles neighbourhood as a kid. The courts, on the other hand, were all shut down.
Williams, who devised a tennis plan for his children about 12 miles away in Compton, finds similar ground with the Mexican American parent.
“When I saw the movie ‘King Richard,’ I discovered a lot of parallels and similarities,” Mendez stated in a video interview. “It was critical for me to push my daughter, as a Latina, to do something outside of our heritage, our comfort zone.”
Mendez said that he wanted his daughter to have the chance to play tennis as she grew up. However, when his daughter began at a country club as the only Latina in a class of 30, he says the original purpose of sharing his love of tennis with his family evolved into spreading the sport with other people of his community.
“There aren’t a lot of kids out there that look like me or like my kids,” he remarked. “Only around 6% of collegiate tennis players are Hispanic, compared to approximately 25% of soccer players.”
Mendez created the Multicultural Tennis Association in Las Vegas, and he’s now based in Chicago, where the organisation has grown thanks to the Mike Tyson Cares Foundation’s support and is conducting free activities in inner-city parks in collaboration with the Chicago Parks District.
But, in addition to the objective of making tennis more inexpensive and accessible, Mendez believes a cultural revolution is required.
“We don’t really push our young females to go out there and compete in our society,” he remarked. “We need to tear down that barrier and enable youngsters to pack those tennis courts,” says the author.
Mendez, like Williams in the film, feels that combining school and athletics is the key to success.
“As a father, it’s critical for me to raise a well-rounded child,” says the author “he said “And kids shouldn’t only believe they’ll be the next champion; what happens if they don’t become professional tennis players?”
“Stories are being written for us.”
Green argues that more and more varied tales are being presented on film, when questioned about the significance of visibility on screen. Viewers, on the other hand, aren’t interested in films that just tick off diversity boxes.
“What you could see today is, let’s put a Black person in charge, or let’s put a Latino in charge,” he remarked. “However, it was not written for us.” It is being slotted since it was written for someone else. Rather than having tales written for us. And I believe that will be the next wave of films.”
Green believes it begins with Black and Latino individuals authoring and delivering their own tales, as well as having the chance to work both in front of and behind the camera.
“We’re on a lengthy road because we want significant, long-term change,” he says of making authentic Black and Latino films. “It’s not only a matter of the moment.” Hopefully, our films will stand the test of time. And not simply let’s do it right now and paint by numbers.”