Will Smith Details Fears of Accepting 'Concussion' Role as a "Football Dad"
Will Smith is both a father and an actor. Thus, when Ridley Scott presented him with the script for Concussion, Smith encountered a dilemma. While the script was "beautiful," Smith was conflicted because his son played football, and he did not know how to continue supporting this activity after he finished reading the screenplay.
The Philadelphia born actor and rapper, who portrays Nigerian doctor Bennet Omalu in the film, told Variety, "I got the call from Ridley and he said, 'I've got a gift for you. And he sent me Concussion. I read it immediately, and I remember thinking, 'This ain't no damn gift!' I'm a football dad. So for me, it was a beautiful screenplay, but it opened up a huge conflict for me."
According to HipHopDX, Smith's character in the film confronts the National Football League about the various dangers inherent in the sport, including head trauma and the its effects off the field.
Regarding his time as a football parent, when his oldest son Trey played in high school, Smith said, "During that time I had never heard about the concussion issue at all. It was part of what really inspired me and made me want to do the film, forced me to have to do the film was because as a parent, I had no idea. I had no idea that there was an issue with repetitive trauma in football. It was quite a revelation."
Concussion opens in theaters on December 25th, and examines the controversial issue of head trauma in professional football. The film stars Will Smith, Gugu Mbatha-Raw, Albert Brooks, and Alec Baldwin, and is based on the 2009 GQ expose "Game Brain". The film is described as both a biographical sports thriller and a medical drama, and has received positive reveiws from critics so far.