Jon Bernthal lost 30
Jon Bernthal lost 30 pounds while learning how to play tennis to prepare for his role as Rick Macci in King Richard. Credits: Warner Bros. Pictures via Instagram @jonnybernthal

Jon Bernthal lost 30 pounds while learning how to play tennis to prepare for his role as the tennis coach of the Williams sisters, Rick Macci, in the biographical drama movie, King Richard, opposite actor Will Smith.

Jon Bernthal lost 30 pounds for his role

Speaking to The Hollywood Reporter alongside Rick Macci, Jon Bernthal shared how he learned to play tennis for his portrayal of the former in King Richard, opposite Will Smith, and lost 30 pounds as a result, revealing that he knew very little of the sport when he first landed the role of Macci. However, he added that he had immense respect for Macci and believed that it was very important to make the movie as accurate as possible.

Jon Benthal trained at an academy for 3 hours a day and lost 30 pounds, the actor also had the opportunity to train a real-life Junior National Player, Kame Medora, while he was in the character of Rick Macci. The production for the movie was then shut down due to the pandemic and Bernthal took the opportunity to add another 6 months into his training for the role.

It was such a joy for me to channel you (Rick Macci), man. I believe in the way that you conduct your life. It was a joy for me to play such a joyous person. I played sports my whole life.

I did not know much about tennis when this thing started. But I am a firm believer that if you’re going to do a sports movie, you’ve got to get the sport right. I find it enormously disrespectful when films don’t do that.

I was enormously grateful to the producers to give me the infrastructure to really learn the game of tennis. I trained at an academy out here in Ojai for three hours a day. I lost 30 pounds. I would learn the game of tennis, but then I also got to learn how to coach.

I worked with a top 50 junior nationals player named Kamea Medora, who was awesome, and I trained her in character. To be able to do those drills and be able to coach in character, I felt that then stepping in, I was in a great place.

The other thing is, Rick — I mean, besides the unbelievable sexiness and beauty of that mustache, and your overall thing you’ve got going on — you have one of the most unique voices and dialects and speech patterns of anyone I’ve ever heard.

That was one thing I really wanted to get right … but the thing that I felt like I was most interested in was your heart. Your heart, loving these two young women, loving this family, wanting to be a part of this mission.

And [having production] shut down for six months (during the pandemic) gave me six more months to keep on preparing, keep on playing, keep on training.

Jon Bernthal
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