Saniyya Sidney And Demi Singleton On Playing Venus And Serena, Childhood Heroes And Will Smith

·2-min read
Photo credit: .
Photo credit: .

At the ages of just 15 and 14, actors Saniyya Sidney and Demi Singleton are stepping into some pretty big (tennis) shoes.

The stars are being introduced to audiences as the teenage versions of Venus and Serena Williams in the big-screen story about their rise to becoming two of the greatest athletes of all time.

King Richard - produced by both of the tennis greats, as well as their sister Isha Price and Jada Pinkett-Smith - focuses on how their father, Richard Williams (played by Will Smith) and mother Oracene Williams (Aunjanue Ellis) committed to training and moulding their daughters into champions from their local tennis courts in Compton, Los Angeles in the 1990s.

Photo credit: Warner Bros.
Photo credit: Warner Bros.

Understandably, Sidney and Singleton 'were so excited' they 'hysterically cried' when they were told they had been cast in the roles of the Williams sisters.

'Serena and Williams are both of our childhood heroes and strong Black women that we've looked up to,' Singleton told ELLE UK.

Photo credit: Alex Livesey - Getty Images
Photo credit: Alex Livesey - Getty Images

These heroes are now acquaintances, with the actors recently posing with Venus and Serena at the film's Los Angeles premiere. They've also become 'friends' with Serena's daughter, Olympia Ohanian, with a video of the three of them playing Slide even landing a prestigious place on the three-year-old's Instagram account grid.

'She says all the time, "Mummy, you know the girl who plays you and the girl who plays Auntie V V they're my friends,"' says Sidney.

There is no danger of these actors peaking early either, despite the gravitas of their King Richard roles. Singleton has played Forrest Whittaker's granddaughter, Margaret, in the American Gangster drama prequel The Godfather of Harlem for two seasons, while Sidney recently shot the hugely anticipated First Ladies, in which she portrayed Sasha Obama. Yep, as in the youngest daughter or former president Barack (played by The Handmaid's Tale's OT Fagbenle) and First Lady Michelle (the incomparable Viola Davis).

'I really felt like I was living in the White House because we were shooting in a replica,' explains Sidney. 'Viola Davis would speak on the phone with First Lady Michelle Obama and I'd say, "Oh my goodness"... if former president Obama and Michelle know who I am I'm ok with that. I can go to bed knowing that they know who I am.'

Something tells us presidents past, present and future will soon know Saniyya Sidney and Demi Singleton, judging by the levels of talent they've already reached as teenagers.

Watch Saniyya Sidney and Demi Singleton play 'Ask Me Anything' at the top of this article.

King Richard is in cinemas now.


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