With countless blockbuster films and awards under his belt, Will Smith has reigned supreme as one of Hollywood’s leading men for years. However, the Fresh Prince recently revealed that he was skeptical about accepting his role in the soon-to-be released movie, Concussion.
Smith’s latest project tells the story of Bennet Omalu, a Nigerian doctor who approached the National Football League (NFL) with information about the hazards of the intense head trauma that players sustained during games.
The Philadelphia native, who plays Omalu in the film, told Variety that as soon as he read the movie script, he was unsure about whether or not to participate in the drama.
“I got the call from Ridley and he said, ‘I’ve got a gift for you,'” Smith recalled. “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.”
Smith, long known for his diehard support of his hometown Philadelphia Eagles and cheering on his oldest son, Trey, at his high school football games, said that filming the movie opened his eyes to the medical dangers that players subject themselves to when they step on the field.
“During that time I had never heard about the concussion issue at all,” he said. “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 hits theaters on Christmas Day.