An LA Times report details how producers of a new documentary on the sisters are now walking around the Toronto Film Festival with egg on their respective faces because the stars of the film have decided they don’t want to be associated with the finished product because it shows their father, Richard Williams, in a bad light.
In an about-face, Venus and Serena Williams have chosen not to attend Tuesday’s Toronto world premiere of the documentary “Venus and Serena,” which they authorized and participated in for the past 20 months, because they are reportedly unhappy with the finished product.
As recently as several days ago, the tennis superstars had planned to come to the Toronto International Film Festival to support the movie made by veteran broadcast journalists Maiken Baird and Michelle Major, according to a person familiar with the Williamses’ plans who asked not to be identified because the person had not been authorized to speak on their behalf.
But a disagreement between the sisters and the filmmakers over the movie’s content — particularly the portrayal of the sisters’ father, Richard Williams — has led to a reversal, the person said. The movie is at Toronto seeking distribution.
After being wooed by Baird and Major for nearly four years, the sisters agreed to participate in the documentary. In January 2011, the filmmakers began following the sisters around the world, having been granted intimate access to the cloistered stars as well as to their friends and family members; they shot more than 450 hours of footage. Major said that neither sister asked for any preconditions before filming began.
But it does explore some of Richard Williams’ foibles, from his out-of-wedlock children to a 78-page manifesto he had plotting out his daughters’ success at a very young age. That angered the sisters, particularly Venus, according to the person with knowledge of the disagreement.
Read/learn more at LA times.