Will Smith Shelled Out Bonuses to ‘King Richard’ Co-Stars

When WarnerMedia CEO Jason Kilar decided to launch the studio’s 2021 cinema system in theaters and on the HBO Max streaming service, he rushed to deliver the products. Makeover for top talent to get profit from lost theater.

Will Smith, who produces and stars in the upcoming film King Richard as the father of tennis superstars Venus and Serena Williams, went a step further, dividing his own money among his co-stars, CHEAP confirmed with two sources close to the film.

Smith enjoyed one day of stellar pay — reportedly up to $40 million — and then personally wrote checks to the cast that included Saniyya Sidney and Demi Singleton, who played Venus and Serena, Tony. Goldwyn, Jon Bernthal and Aunjanue Ellis, among others. One source described the payments as a nice bonus, offered by Smith alongside what they had received from the studio as compensation for a pivot to a simultaneous HBO Max release. . A representative for Smith was not available for comment.

Recently Elle Women in the Hollywood event, both Sidney and Singleton, praised Smith as a human being, as a leader, and for bringing joy to all of his interactions.

“Being on set with him was an absolute blast,” explains Singleton. “He makes sure everyone feels comfortable, safe and has a great time – it’s never been a dull moment – ever.” Sidney added: “He makes sure everyone feels included and feels loved. He has such a big heart.”

Co-star Layla Crawford said his generosity was frequently shown on set. On Wednesday night’s premiere for Red Notice, the young actress said he even brought some actors to tears when giving new phones. “He gave us Polaroid cameras and different gifts all the time. He is such a generous and sweet man. He also gave us iPhone 12 Pro Max goodies in the box. We tore them apart and people started crying. I literally cried my eyes out – it was the best gift ever,” she explains. “Will Smith is a blessing, I’ve learned a lot from working with him.”

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In an interview posted on November 8, Goldwyn confirmed the bounty amount for Access Hollywoodadds that he was shocked by Smith’s generosity.

“I have been doing this for over 30 years. I have never worked with anyone as generous as Will. What you said [he gave bonuses/gifts to all of the talent] that right. When this movie, when Warner Brothers decided not to release it, put it online, there was a lot of controversy as everyone knows and we just got a call from Will saying, ‘I’m going to do it right. .’ I never experienced it, I was overrated. I just couldn’t believe it.”

King Richard Opens on November 19.

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King Richard
Courtesy of the Telluride Film Festival

November 8, 1:42 pm This story has been updated with Tony Goldwyn’s comment to Access Hollywood Bonus confirmation.

A version of this story first appeared in the November 3 issue of The Hollywood Reporter. Click here to subscribe.

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