CHRISTOPHER WALLINGER Aces as Tennis Legend John McEnroe in Warner Bros Biopic KING RICHARD
LOS ANGELES, CA, UNITED STATES: Actor Christopher Wallinger serves-up an ace portraying tennis legend John McEnroe in the new Williams’ sisters biopic, KING RICHARD, produced by and starring Will Smith. Helmed by director Reinaldo Marcus Green, the Warner Bros release is now screening in theaters and available on HBO Max.
KING RICHARD depicts the true rise of the young Williams sisters, Venus and Serena (Saniyya Sidney and Demi Singleton respectively), whose father Richard (Smith) pushed the girls to be the best tennis players they could be, and eventually to change the sport forever. The Williams family was well-acquainted with struggle on the streets of Compton, CA, but Richard knew his girls could make it to the world stage if they put their hearts and minds to it. Along the way, Richard encounters tennis great John McEnroe (Wallinger) during a practice session he'll never forget.
Donning the full 90’s tennis wardrobe wasn’t the only thrill for Wallinger, who explains, “Working with Will Smith was one of the great thrills of my life. I had watched his work from a young age, and seeing his process on set was incredibly inspiring. He brought an energy to the set that was undeniable. He would come back from a break and be clapping and hyping everybody up for the next set up. It was such a fun way to work!”
Wallinger knew he had big shoes to fill as John McEnroe, a larger and louder than life tennis legend. In preparation, he watched hours of footage of McEnroe on the court, giving interviews, and even poking fun at himself later in life with caricature-style appearances in films and television shows. When it came time to shoot, Wallinger also relied on his many years of theater acting, where vocal projection and vivid expression make or break a show.
Wallinger has been building a solid reputation for his talents with several notable television appearances, including the “Virgins” episode of the FOX comedy hit New Girl, portraying nice guy Teddy Sherman (Wallinger) who takes the virginity of Jess (Zoey Deschanel). More recently, Wallinger recurred as Drew Wilson on the Showtime reboot, L Word: Generation Q, and as Richard Porter in the current season of the acclaimed FX anthology, Impeachment: American Crime Story. His credits also include the popular Pure Flix biopic feature release Unbroken: Path to Redemption, and numerous network TV shows, including The Connors, Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D, The Morning Show, Barry, Brooklyn Nine-Nine and Rizzoli & Isles among others.
A Virginia native, Wallinger discovered his passion for performing at a young age. He honed his skills attending the renowned arts school Interlochen Arts Academy in Michigan. He went on to study at Northern Illinois University before making his way to Chicago to pursue acting professionally. He became a company member of the famed Organic Theater Company in Chicago and studied further at the Moscow Art Theater in Russia and Stella Adler in New York. Since moving to Los Angeles, Wallinger produced, directed and performed in four Hollywood Fringe Festivals, and went on to perform in four seasons at Will Geer’s Theatricum Botanicum.