Will Smith Starring in an NFL Concussion Movie Would Bring Much Needed Attention to the Topic
Will Smith's last big starring role was in the universally panned After Earth, but in 2015 it looks like he'll be back in action. With four new films slated, there's gotta be a hit in there somewhere and now it looks like Smith is adding a fifth. Will Smith may take on NFL's concussion problem in a new film about the controversial topic. The movie is based on a 2009 GQ article titled "Game Brain" by Jeanne Marie Laskas. Smith is in talks to play the doctor Laskas followed for her story, Dr. Bennet Omalu, a forensic neuropathologist who was the first to discover a chronic traumatic encephalopathy (CTE) in an NFL player.
In addition to "Game Brain," Omalu was interviewed for PBS' Frontline documentary "League of Denial: The NFL's Concussion Crisis" in which he spoke about his discovery and the NFL's denial of the problem. He said,
I was excited. I thought the football industry would be happy with our new discovery. I thought naively that discovery of new information, unraveling new information, redefining concepts, I thought the football industry would embrace it — again, about my business experience — utilize it, turn it into some type of utility, some type of utility function to enhance the game.
According to Variety , the film will be "a whistle-blower tale in the vein of The Insider humanizing the price paid by professional athletes in impact sports — and the political, cultural and corporate interests that fuel the business of professional sports." The film is being written and directed by Peter Landesman (Parkland).
If Smith signs on, his fame will no doubt bring more widespread attention to this issue, something that will be further acheived by two other in-the-works films about the NFL concussions. Isaiah Washington is set to star in Game Time Decision about a retired football player experiencing the effects of CTE and the book League of Denial: The NFL, Concussions and the Battle for Truth is also being adapted into a film.