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The Real Reason Will Smith Came Out Of Pocket To Pay His King Richard Co-Stars

Will Smith looks to be on a comeback tour that could make him a considerable contender come awards season. His turn in Warner Bros. "King Richard," the true story of Richard Williams, father of Venus and Serena Williams, has been met with critical acclaim already, earning 89% on Rotten Tomatoes. Delivering what The Times called "his best since 'Ali' and one of the year's great screen performances," the excitement is already rising for the film's release next week in cinemas worldwide, as well as on HBO Max. The upcoming 2021 release really feels like a passion project for Smith, who looks to have given it his all for the film, along with a little bit extra to his co-stars as well.

Plenty of actors have gone above and beyond to ensure that the film they're a part of is a success or that the supporting cast they're working with is happy to join it. For example, according to Esquire, Hugh Jackman famously dropped his final stint as Wolverine in "Logan" to ensure the film received an R-rating. Also, after Chadwick Boseman's passing, Sienna Miller told Empire how the late actor dropped his salary quote to ensure hers was at a level she asked for when they worked together on "21 Bridges." Now it's been revealed that Will Smith was happy to share the wealth as a good king would, as well, for his recent role as the father of the Williams' sisters, with a lot of it going to their on-screen counterparts.

Smith gave a bonus to his on-screen daughters

As revealed by The Hollywood Reporter, Will Smith received a wage nearing $40 million for the Reinaldo Marcus Green-directed film and then gave some of it to Saniyya Sidney and Demi Singleton, who play Venus and Serena Williams, respectively. The star did the same for co-stars Tony Goldwyn, Jon Bernthal, and Aunjanue Ellis, providing each actor with an undisclosed amount in personally-written checks. Sources to The Hollywood Reporter reveal that the gesture from Smith was to cover the potential profit losses the cast would endure following Warner Bros.' decision to include "King Richard" in its 2021 day-and-date release strategy as opposed to solely cinemas upon the release.

It's great to hear Smith looking out for his co-stars, especially up-and-coming talents Sidney and Singleton, who look up to their on-screen dad. Speaking of the "King Richard" actor, Singleton said, "Being on set with him was an absolute blast. He made sure that everyone felt comfortable and safe and had a great time — it was never a dull moment — ever." Sidney also had nothing but good things to say about Smith, recalling how "he made sure everyone felt included and felt the love. He has such a big heart."

"King Richard" opens in cinemas and on HBO Max on Friday, November 19.