Will Smith is already garnering award season buzz for his role in the upcoming movie Concussion, and the actor had the support of a few of his famous former costars at a screening for the football film in LA on Monday night. Along with his son Jaden and wife Jada, Will was joined on the red carpet by his Independence Day costar Vivica A. Fox, his Bad Boys and Bad Boys II sidekick Martin Lawrence, and, of course, his onscreen cousin from The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air Alfonso Ribeiro.
Will Smith was dapper in a dark suit, blue tie, and shiny shoes.
“I was almost called to be an activist against myself,” the actor says about his role in the NFL drama
Amid all of the controversy that the football drama “Concussion” is stirring up, Will Smith says he was conflicted over playing the role of Bennet Omalu in the film.
“As an actor, you live for that type of delicious peculiarity,” Smith told GQ. “He is such a unique being. As an actor, I was excited. But as a lover of football, I was conflicted. I was almost called to be an activist against myself.”
In “Concussion,” Smith plays Omalu, a young forensic neuropathologist form Nigeria who made the first discovery of chronic traumatic encephalopathy (CTE), a football-related brain trauma, in a pro football player. In the film, he takes on the National Football League, which does everything in its power to undermine his claims.
“This type of movie checks all of the boxes of who I want to be,” Smith added. “The type of human I want to grow into in this lifetime.”
The film has been said to shed negative light on the NFL. One of its trailers suggests the league tried to strong-arm Omalu into burying evidence of the affliction and its risks for football players. “You’re going to war with a corporation that owns a day of the week,” a fellow doctor (Albert Brooks) advises Smith’s Omalu, referring to the sacrosanct American tradition of Sunday football.
The league is bracing for more mainstream attention on CTE while setting up its defense, however, the NFL maintains that the issue is one of its top concerns.
“Concussion” hits theaters on Christmas Day, and stars Smith, Luke Wilson, Alec Baldwin, Stephen Moyer, Gugu Mbatha-Raw and Albert Brooks.