Will Smith is apparently a devout football fan, but when it came to his decision to star in “Concussion,” the true story about a forensic pathologist who discovered a degenerative brain disease seen primarily in pro football players and concluded that it’s caused by repeated blows to the head, he told EW recently “as a parent, the responsibility to bring this information to light was overwhelming. I almost couldn’t say no,” .
It’s a film that depicts the threats and intimidation that the Nigerian-born Dr. Bennet Omalu faced when he disclosed his findings, and not surprisingly, the NFL is not very happy. Contention started in September when the New York Times suggested that Sony Pictures softened aspects of “Concussion” to stay out of legal trouble.
Sony countered swiftly with a statement that maintained, “the NYT article and headline, written by individuals who have not seen the film, contains many misleading inferences. As will become immediately clear to anyone actually seeing the movie, nothing with regard to this important story has been ‘softened’ to placate anyone.” Director Peter Landesman (“Parkland”) was much harsher, telling Deadline that the Times had penned a “hatchet job.”
The true story? Maybe we’ll finally find out when “Concussion” hits cinemas on December 25th, but first it will make its worldwide premiere at AFI Fest on November 10th. “Concussion” also stars Alec Baldwin, Gugu Mbatha-Raw, Albert Brooks, Luke Wilson, Paul Reiser, Adewale Akinnuoye-Agbaje and David Morse; Check out the new trailer.