Roland Martin and NewsOne Now were on hand for the New York premiere of the movie Concussion, starring Will Smith as Dr. Bennet Omalu and Gugu Mbatha-Raw as Prema Mutiso, Omalu’s wife.
From Sony Pictures:
Will Smith stars in Concussion, a dramatic thriller based on the incredible true David vs. Goliath story of American immigrant Dr. Bennet Omalu, the brilliant forensic neuropathologist who made the first discovery of CTE, a football-related brain trauma, in a pro player and fought for the truth to be known. Omalu’s emotional quest puts him at dangerous odds with one of the most powerful institutions in the world.
In talking about the film, Mbatha-Raw told Martin that Concussion is a “whistle-blower — morality tale” and loves that fact that even though the film is about football, “you see it from the perspective of one man who has no real interest or investment in American football.”
Mbatha-Raw, who also starred in the critically acclaimed film Beyond The Lights, considers Concussion to be a “David and Goliath-like battle” in which Dr. Omalu gets “drawn into inadvertently.”
NBC’s Bob Costas was also on hand for the New York premiere of the film and explained to Martin that Concussion is “real-life, but it is a dramatization — it’s not a strictly speaking documentary, that was done by League of Denial and done extremely well.”
Costas continued, “This is a drama that contains essential truths and it will bring this issue, which has been building from a variety of different directions — it will bring it to an even broader audience because it is a well made and entertaining film and it stars one of America’s most popular actors in Will Smith.”
Martin caught up with Will Smith during the red carpet event and discussed the existence of CTE (Chronic traumatic encephalopathy) in athletes. Smith explained, “CTE is a very unique condition similar to dementia, Pugilism with boxers, or Alzheimer’s.” Smith added, “The repetitive head trauma of the NFL and of football creates a very different condition and that’s the thing that interesting about this — it’s actually a new disease that has been discovered by Dr. Omalu.”
Smith, who identified himself as a “football Dad” who loves the game, still considers football beautiful and said he’ll “be able to relax into the viewing of the game again” after those who play the sport “have the information and they can make different decisions on the field based on the reality of the science.”
Dr. Bennet Omalu also spoke with Martin about the highly anticipated film. Dr. Omalu said he was “simply seeking the truth. I never wanted the lime-light. I simply wanted to use my education and knowledge to make a difference in the lives of others. To become the voice to the voiceless and it’s in doing that that we lived out the American dream.”
“This movie is not about me, it’s about the celebration of the greater American family.”
“This movie is not about the NFL … I’m not anti-football, I’m not anti-NFL. I’m actually pro-football because when I discovered CTE I believed that my discovery was going to enhance football and enhance the lives of the players,” said Omalu.
“This is about the truth and seeking the truth — what does the truth do? It sets you free!”
Concussion, starring Will Smith as Dr. Bennet Omalu, opens in theaters nationwide on Christmas Day; be sure to check it out during the holiday season.
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