As the release date draws near for the new Will Smith led drama, Concussion, controversy continues to loom over the project.
The film, which takes a stark look at the connection between the game of football and the effects of concussions in its players, has been referred to as a potential PR nightmare for the National Football League.
Recently, there has been mounting speculation that the brass behind the film made numerous changes to the original incarnation to avoid drawing the ire of the billion-dollar business that is the NFL. The film’s writer and director, Peter Landesman, refutes that claim and says it couldn’t be further from the truth.
“The idea that we softened it to placate the NFL is nonsense,” Landesman said. “Anybody who sees the movie will see that’s actually a laughable subject matter and this is a movie that shoots the NFL between the eyes on that subject.”
Landesman, who himself played a few years of college football, went on to say that the intention was never to bash the game but to simply tell the truth of a “human interest story.”
At the recent premiere of the film at the AFI Fest, Smith, who decided upon meeting the story’s protagonist Dr. Bennet Omalu that he wanted in on the role, says for him it is all about making people aware of an unspoken danger of the game.
“There is a certain truth to the science that people aren’t aware of,” said Smith. “There are professional football players and parents who don’t have this information so for me it illuminates a reality around the game.”
Ridley Scott, who served as co-producer of the film along with his wife, Giannina, reiterates Smith’s assertation that at the end of the day, it’s a matter of giving people the truth and letting them decide where to go from there.
“When you have the facts and truth,” Scott said, “the people should simply be aware and it should be their decision.”
Concussion opens in theaters nationwide on Christmas day.