Thursday, May 26, 2022

Meet Layla Crawford – She Plays Step Sister to Venus and Serena Williams in ‘King Richard’

*The highly anticipated Warner Bros. filmKing Richardpremiered on November 19. It follows the journey of tennis dad Richard Williams (played by Will Smith), an undeterred father who was instrumental in raising his daughters to be extraordinarily gifted athletes.

Williams raised his two daughters, Venus and Serena plus their three step-sisters Lyndrea (Layla Crawford), Isha (Daniele Lawson), and Tunde Price (Mikayla Lashae Bartholomew) in Compton, California. Driven by a clear vision of their future and based on true events, Richard has a plan that will take his daughters from the streets of Compton to the global stage as legendary icons.

In a special Q&A by Anthony Robles, provided to EURweb, Layla Crawford speaks about her role and her experience filming “King Richard.” With Oscar buzz already surrounding the film, Layla opens up about the anxiety she is dealing with and the pressure she is getting from friends and family leading up to awards season.

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Layla Crawford
Layla Crawford

1.  When did you first fall in love with acting?

My love for acting started when I was around 3 years old. I started off dancing and participating in school plays. I used to run around the house and recite lines from various Disney Channel shows. I honestly just fell in love with the whole idea of performing.

2.  What has been your favorite acting role thus far?

This is definitely a hard question. My favorite acting role so far might be my co-star role in True Blood where I played, ‘Young Tara’. I was very young when I filmed that, but it was a very intense scene and I had to dig deep within myself and show raw emotion. I was very proud of the performance and I would have to say that that’s one of my favorite roles.

3. What type of preparation did you do to get into your character for the movie King Richard?

In King Richard, I play ‘Lynn Price,’ who is one of Serena and Venus’ half-sisters who is older. Playing a real person comes with a lot of pressure because you want to make sure that you are executing their personality correctly. I was lucky enough to have the real Lynn Price on-set every day, so I was able to have conversations with her about how she was and the things she liked as a kid. A lot of my preparation was doing my own research and taking directions on set as well.

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4.  How was it working alongside Will Smith? Did he give you any amazing tips or advice?

Mr. Will is honestly the best. He is a very generous, kind, and funny person. He made sure that everyone on set was comfortable. The best advice that I got was being able to watch him burst into his character and completely take on, ‘Richard Williams’. He is all around a great and humble guy, whom I also learned that having a good attitude can get you far in life.

5.  How were you all able to film during the pandemic?

We started filming right before covid and got shut down when the pandemic hit its peak. Filming a movie during a pandemic was definitely a new experience. Our masks were constantly on and there were times we had to be separated in between takes, but I felt very safe in the environment that was created by production.

6.  Did you film on location? If so, did you all film in the home Venus, Serena, and their family grew up in? Did you film at the same tennis courts they practiced on?

We filmed at a lot of different locations while filming this movie. We didn’t film in the actual home or tennis courts of the Williams family, but we did film in Compton where they grew up. We also filmed at various tennis courts around California. Traveling around to different places was actually a lot of fun.

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7. Can you talk about the anxiety or pressure you felt playing Serena and Venus’s sister?

A lot of anxiety and pressure comes along with playing a role of this magnitude. I think this is a very important story that needed to be told, so I wanted to make sure I did my part to contribute to the storytelling the best I’m really happy with the outcome and I’m glad that everyone is getting inspired.

8.  What tools did/do you use to cope with your anxiety?

Anxiety is something that a lot of people deal with and most times it’s not necessarily rational. When it comes to me, the best thing to keep me grounded is surrounding myself with people who have my best interest at heart. I also make sure that I get enough sleep, stay organized, and meditate daily.

9.  What advice would you give to young aspiring actors who want to follow in your footsteps?

The best advice I would give to younger and inspiring actors is to not give up. There are many times where you may be discouraged and receive a lot of rejection, but the important thing is that you believe in yourself and stay focused.

10.  Who is your biggest inspiration?

My biggest inspiration and probably my biggest supporter is my mom. She has been here with me throughout my entire life and has supported my career tremendously. She is very resilient, kind, and selfless. I hope to be half the person that she is today.

11.  Finally, with there being buzz of possible Oscar nominations for King Richard, how does that feel? That’s an incredible honor only a few get to experience and by the way congratulations!

It feels amazing! There was a lot of hard work and dedication that went into making this film and I’m so glad the film is being well received and everyone is enjoying it. I watched it over 20 times and I get inspired every time and I’m glad that everyone feels the same way.
source: Anthony Robles – mayhem-ent.com

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