How do you make a movie about the early stages of the NFL's concussion crisis? Writer/director Peter Landesman and actor Will Smith have figured out a way.
The film is based on the life of Dr. Bennett Omalu, a Nigerian neuropathologist who performed autopsies of former NFL players and, thus, got the ball rolling on the head-trauma issue the league, and the sport at large, still wrestles with today.
Says Landesman: "Bennett has a savant-like relationship to the dead. His obsession is to tell the story of death. As he says in the movie, I think more about the way people die and reasons they die than the way they live. He was completely focused on the science. He didn’t know football, he didn’t know who Mike Webster was; to him, Webster was just another body on a slab. He didn’t have a reverence for the game because he wasn’t brought up in this country. So in some ways, his purity and his innocence was a requirement for him to drill down into this and tell us a very uncomfortable and inconvenient truth."
"Concussion" comes to a theater near you on Christmas Day.