Will Smith "Surprised" 'Concussion' Didn't "Have a Bigger Impact"
"I knew it would be hard because people love the game, but the science is so overwhelming, and it’s something that we really need to take a look at," the actor says of head-trauma in the NFL.
With a new football season underway, Will Smith is surprised that his controversial football drama Concussion, released last December, did not have a greater effect on audiences' interest in the NFL.
Speaking with Vanity Fair, the 48-year-old actor said he is quick to get over one of his films underperforming, but Concussion and its message about the dangers of head injuries due to blows sustained by football payers, was different.
“I thought Concussion would have a bigger impact," Smith told VF. "I knew it would be hard because people love the game, but the science is so overwhelming, and it’s something that we really need to take a look at." He added, “I thought that people would get behind the mission of that. I was surprised that people were absolutely like, 'Nope, I’m not stopping watching football, so I don’t want to know.'"
In the 2015 film released on Christmas Day, Smith played forensic pathologist Bennet Omalu, who in reality worked tirelessly to convince the NFL of the serious medical issue, chronic traumatic encephalopathy (CTE).
Smith, who noted to VF he is very selective of projects, said, “I saw [former C.I.A. director David] Petraeus randomly a couple months ago, and he said, ‘Listen, I just watched Concussion. My wife made me watch it; I didn’t want watch it. I had refused to watch it. That’s the best movie you ever made.’ That was the first time that someone had actually, specifically said they didn’t want the pain of watching it.”
Smith was praised for his work in the film and earned a Golden Globe nomination. Concussion grossed $48.6 million worldwide on a $35 million budget, received an "A" CinemaScore and has a 61 percent freshness rating on Rotten Tomatoes.