Jon Bernthal Lost 30 Pounds Training For King Richard Role
Star Jon Bernthal revealed that he had lost 30 pounds while learning tennis to prepare for his role in the tennis coaching team, Rick Macci. American actor Bernthal is best known for his roles on The Walking Dead, Daredevil, and The Punisher. His role as Shane Walsh in The Walking Dead was his first major role. In 2016, he played The Punisher on Marvel’s Daredevil. This role would be recast in his solo series The Punisher in 2017. The MCU has many viewers still hoping Bernthal will reprise his role as The Punisher.
Bernthal is playing a completely different role in the movie King Richard. The biographical drama film follows Richard Williams’ relentless dream and efforts to make his daughters, Venus, and Serena, world-class tennis players. It was released on November 19, 2021. Bernthal plays the role of Macci, an American tennis coach and player who trained five top-ranked players, including Serena, Venus, and others. Bernthal was a Macci-like player in King Richard. It took a lot of training to match Macci’s tennis skills.
Bernthal told THR that he had lost 30 pounds playing tennis as a training method for his King Richard position. Bernthal acknowledged that he didn’t know much about tennis when he was first offered the role. He had great respect for Macci and felt it was important to portray sports films accurately. He trained for three hours per day at Ojai’s academy, losing 30 pounds along the way. While in character, he also had the chance to train Kamea Medora (a Junior National Player). Bernthal used the opportunity to train six more months after the pandemic shut down production. Below is his statement.
It was a great pleasure to channel you, man. Your life is a model of how I believe. It was a great joy to be a part of such a happy person. All my life, I have been involved in sports. When this all began, I didn’t know anything about tennis. However, you have to know the sport well if you want to make a movie about it. It is incredibly disrespectful for films not to do this. I am extremely grateful to the producers for allowing me to learn tennis. I practiced three hours per day at the Ojai academy. I lost 30 pounds. I learned the game of tennis, and then I was able to teach how to coach. Kamea Medora was a top 50 junior national tennis player. I also trained her in character. It was a huge accomplishment to do these drills and be an able coach in character. Rick, the other thing I love about you is that you have one of the unique voices, dialects, and speech patterns I’ve ever heard. This was the one thing I wanted to do right, but what I was most interested in was your heart. Your heart,
your love for these young women, your family, and your desire to be part of this mission. I continued training, prepared, and kept production off-line for six months after the pandemic. Bernthal was not the only one with a rigorous training program for his role as King Richard. Demi Singleton and Saniyya Siedney, who play Venus and Serena respectively, had never played tennis before taking on the roles. Their roles as Serena or Venus required hours of intensive training to portray the sport accurately. Bernthal explains that a biographic film about a sports subject must be as authentic as possible. All actors and actresses have demonstrated incredible work ethic and a passion for the sport. Bernthal was particularly inspired by Macci’s joy and heartfelt approach, making him a beloved coach.
Since its release, King Richard received an overwhelmingly positive response from critics. The film’s overall theme of warmth and emphasis on determination and belief received high praise. Critics praised the performances by all the actors and actresses. Will Smith was particularly impressive as Venus’ father and speculation about an Oscar nomination. While Smith, Singleton, and Sidney gave outstanding performances, Bernthal’s story demonstrates that the film was made possible by a collective effort of all the cast and crew. The actors and actresses were keen to capture the joy and heart of the sport. They spent hours each day learning the intricacies of tennis. The cast put their hearts and souls into their characters to bring out the true-life personalities.