Will Smith: ‘Concussion’ Movie Will Be Heartbreaking, Enlightening, Disturbing
Will Smith, a self-described “football dad,” said he felt conflicted about starring in the new film Concussion.
In the new film Smit plays the leading doctor who discovered brain trauma, the leading factor in the deaths of some former National Football League (NFL) players.
After a screening of “Concussion” in Hollywood on Tuesday night,Smith said the role of Dr. Bennet Omalu was not easy for him because he watched his son play high school football for four years.
Omalu was the first to discover chronic traumatic encephalopathy (CTE) in the brains of dead NFL players, fought the league about the true dangers of concussions, and his story is told in the movie.
“I’m a football dad,” Smith said, according to Yahoo’s Meriah Doty. “For me, [the role] was really conflicting. When I sat down with Bennet I was hoping, ‘Please say something to make me not take this movie.’”
Smith said his ignorance to the dangers of football and hearing Omalu’s story, led him to take the role.
As Yahoo points out, the movie is going to be bad for the NFL, especially if Smith gets an Oscar nomination for his role, as Doty says he could. A lot of the material in the movie was already covered in an excellent documentary and book, “League of Denial,” but a mainstream film starring one of the biggest names in Hollywood will reach a much larger audience. Like Smith, many are either ignorant of the dangers of football when it comes to brain injuries or don’t want to confront the issue. The movie is going to be a revelation for many who watch.
“Concussion” director Peter Landesman played football for two years in college, but telling this story was obviously important to him.
“I love football,” Landesman said. “We have a lot of beautiful football in this film purposefully. We’re not out to wag our finger and say, ‘Don’t do this.’ It’s a difficult thing: The things we love in life sometimes are the things that kill us.”
Frank Schwab of Yahoo adds:
And again, the NFL’s problem with the attention to the issue is it’s being told by people who love the sport. When football fans have to be honest about the way brain injuries are affecting the men who play the sport, their message can’t be easily dismissed.
“Concussion” opens in ttheatres on Dec. 25.