Oscar season is in the air, and for the first time in years people are mentioning Will Smith’s name in the race for Best Actor. After a few failed movies, Smith turns to NFL drama Concussion, which puts the spotlight on the controversial nature of the NFL.
The Concussion trailer debuted on Monday and it definitely excited Oscar pundits in a big way. In the film, Smith plays real life doctor Bennet Omalu, the man who discovered a rare brain disease among football players, due to the violent nature of the sport. He discovered that players crushing their heads together, even though they had helmets on, resulted in huge brain deficits. It sounds like a no-brainer, but at the time it was an enormous discovery, and riled up the NFL in a huge way.
Omalu discovered that the rare disease was called chronic traumatic encephalopathy. When Dr. Omalu brings this up to the NFL they aren’t exactly thrilled with the discovery, and wants to quiet him in fear of the legacy being tarnished. It’s the war between a money making association and Omalu’s quest for the truth. This true story was documented on an article in GQ called “Game Brain,” which was written by Jeanne Marie Laskas. The article is what the script and premise of Concussion is based on.
So far, people believe that Will Smith will give a performance that’s on the same par as his impressive performances in dramas Ali and The Pursuit of Happyness, both roles which he earned nominations for.
Cinema Blend, spoke with writer-director Peter Landesman about what Concussion is and isn’t about. According to the director, it’s not about taking a stance against the game of football.
“This isn’t about taking down the game. Even the people in the [test] audience who were strong NFL fans were able to make a very strong distinction between the game, which we love, and the National Football League – which is a massive international corporation that is interested, first and foremost, in making money. So there’s a very different and strong distinction.”
Following that same thought, Sony’s Dwight Caines said of the film’s message, “Will is not anti football (nor is the movie) and isn’t planning to be a spokesman for what football should be or shouldn’t be but rather is an actor taking on an exciting challenge. We’ll develop messaging with the help of N.F.L. consultant to ensure that we are telling a dramatic story and not kicking the hornet’s nest.”
Here’s a few reactions to Will Smith’s latest role:
— Hollywood Reporter (@THR) September 1, 2015
— Omar (@omara341) September 1, 2015
Concussion will hit theaters on December 25.
[Photo by Sony Pictures]