Will Smith may be tackling a hot-button issue with his next film.
Less than a week after exiting the Legendary sci-fi film “Brilliance” that was to co-star “Prometheus” actress Noomi Rapace, the actor is reportedly circling Ridley Scott's untitled football concussion movie inspired by the GQ article “Game Brain” by Jeanne Marie Laskas. Scott was once looking to direct the Sony film before handing the reins over to Peter Landesman (“Parkland”), who also penned the script.
Published in 2009, “Game Brain” focused on the mounting scientific evidence that concussions suffered by players on the gridiron could result in severe brain trauma leading to chronic depression, memory loss and suicide. According to Deadline, Smith would play the role of Dr. Bennet Omalu, a forensic pathologist and neuropathologist who in 2002 discovered a degenerative condition known as chronic traumatic encephalopathy (CTE) in the brains of several recently-deceased NFL players – a condition later detected in the brain tissue of retired NFL linebacker Junior Seau, who took his own life in 2012. Omalu and others later encountered pushback on the issue from the NFL, an element of the story the film will explore.
Owing to the recent buzz surrounding the issue, Scott isn't the only one developing a film on the topic – other percolating projects include an untitled effort from writer/director Matthew A. Cherry starring Isaiah Washington (“Grey's Anatomy”) and another based on the book “League Of Denial: The NFL, Concussions And The Battle For Truth” by ESPN reporters Mark Fainaru-Wada and Steve Fainaru that later became the subject of a “Frontline” documentary on PBS.
Smith's last big-screen effort was the critical and commercial flop “After Earth” co-starring his son Jaden Smith. Forthcoming on the actor's slate is “Focus,” a romantic dramedy co-starring Margot Robbie and Rodrigo Santoro.
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