Some say you go mad, but madness is not somewhere you go. It’s when something else comes inside. Madness lies between the past and the future. There, the mind is attacked with new information and new realities. This is the focus of the film, “Concussion,” which explores the growing pains that take place when the stable past is uprooted by new and devastating realizations. Denial is an acceptable and normal stage of transitioning, but at what point does denial no longer serve as a protective mechanism, but instead as an act of violence?
For years the NFL fought to keep secret the real repercussions of repeated brain trauma as the result of playing football. Dr. Bennet Omalu fought to reveal the truth and in doing so made enemies of those who depended on the status qous established by the past. While his discoveries are largely accepted by the public as fact, the path to this social realization was not easy. Omalu was one against many. Yet through perseverance, he turned the hand of time and moved society forward to acknowledge the mistakes of the past.
“Concussion gives us a window into the larger-than-life spirit of Dr. Omalu, and fortunately, we have Will Smith to capture his essence,” said producer Larry Shuman.
Will Smith’s Take on the Film
“For myself, in this process I don’t think about football – my focus is on Bennet and the pain and triumph of the story of an immigrant who came to America, suffered what he had to suffer, and ultimately was vindicated,” Smith continues. “I look at this film as the close of a chapter for Bennet. This is a man who was born during an air raid in Nigeria. His mother was hit by shrapnel when he was being delivered. To go from there, to go through the suffering of bringing this story to the American public, and then to have your life story told through a Hollywood film – that’s a beautiful hero’s journey.”
The film stars Will Smith, Alec Baldwin, Gugu Mbatha-Raw, Arliss Howard, Paul Reiser, Luke Wilson, Adewale Akinnuoye-Agbaje, with David Morse and Albert Brooks. Written and directed by Peter Landesman. Produced by Ridley Scott, Giannina Scott, David Wolthoff, Larry Shuman, and Elizabeth Cantillon. Based on the GQ article “Game Brain” by Jeanne Marie Laskas. Executive Producers are Michael Schaefer, David Crockett, Ben Waisbren, Bruce Berman, and Greg Basser. Director of Photography is Salvatore Totino, ASC, A.I.C.
All images and quotes courtesy of © 2015 Columbia Pictures Industries, Inc. All Rights Reserved. Video Courtesy of Sony Pictures.