Actor and movie producer Will Smith has reportedly made generous checkbook compensation to his fellow actors who were financially impacted by lost theatrical return. The actor, who co-produced and starred in the upcoming “King Richard” movie as the father of Venus and Serena Williams, reportedly received $40 million for the movie.
THR reports that Smith personally wrote checks to co-actors like Sania Sidney and Demi Singleton, who play Venus and Serena, Tony Goldwin, John Bernthal, and Onjan Ellis. Smith reportedly wrote the checks after Warner Bros. changed the release plan for the upcoming movie to debut simultaneously in theaters and on its streaming service HBO Max on Nov. 19. Smith’s spokesman declined to comment on this information.
Smith’s payment of compensation to his colleagues has been described as a “nice bonus” in addition to what they received from the studio as compensation for the pivot to simultaneous HBO Max release strategy, according to the Hollywood reporter.
In the past, actresses Sydney and Singleton have publicly praised Smith for his leadership qualities. According to them, he brings joy to everyone he works with.
“Being on set with him was an absolute blast,” Singleton explained. “He made sure that everyone felt comfortable and safe and had a great time — it was never a dull moment — ever.” Added Sidney: “He made sure everyone felt included and felt the love. He has such a big heart.”
Co-star Layla Crawford said at the premiere for Red Notice that Smith even brought some cast members to tears by offering new phones.
“He gave us Polaroid cameras and different treats all the time. He’s just such a generous and sweet person. He also gave us iPhone 12 Pro Max gifts in boxes. We ripped them open and everyone started crying. I literally cried my eyes out — it was the best gift ever,” she explained. “Will Smith is a blessing, I learned so much from working with him.”
Also, the Hollywood Reporter quoted actress Tony Goldwyn, who confirmed Smith’s generosity to his colleagues.
“I’ve been doing this for over 30 years,” Goldwyn said. “I have never worked with anyone as generous as Will. What you said [he gave bonuses/gifts to all of the talent] is true. When this movie, when Warner Brothers decided not to release it, to put it out on streaming, there was a lot of controversies as people know and we just got a call from Will saying, ‘I’m going to make this right.’ I’ve never experienced it, I was floored. I just couldn’t believe it.”