Without question one of the more controversial films being released this holiday season will be Sony’s Christmas Day release Concussion, which stars Will Smith in the true story of Dr. Bennet Omalu, the Nigerian immigrant who uncovered CTE, the brain trauma that can be caused by direct contact in football games. The film pulls no punches and certainly puts the NFL on the hot seat.
During Deadline’s big awards-season event The Contenders Presented By Deadline last month at the DGA in front of a packed audience of AMPAS and key guild members, I sat down the film’s writer-director Peter Landesman and Oscar-winning film editor William Goldenberg (Argo). They talked about how the film came about in the first place, the casting of Smith and the physicality of the role, the challenge of keeping a procedural-type story moving at a fast pace, and other topics. With the revelation just last week that the late Frank Gifford did indeed suffer from CTE (a condition that can only be diagnosed after death), the issues with which Concussion deals promise to become an even greater hot-button conversation as the film’s release nears.
To watch, click on the video link above.