Will Smith is promoting Concussion. He’s been featured in multiple interviews this week and, unfortunately, most of them don’t feature Samuel L Jackson. Concussion is the true story of neuropathologist Dr Bennet Omalu’s work exposing what playing American style football can do a player’s brain based on a 2009 investigate report in GQ Magazine written by Jeanne Marie Laskas. Click here if you haven’t read the article. It’s terrifying. And it’s infuriating, the lengths that the NFL has gone to to shirk the responsibility of caring for those who, literally, sacrificed their bodies in service of the sport and the league.
So, naturally, one of the narratives in selling this picture has become Will Smith vs the NFL. Which, ostensibly, requires a certain bravery. And Will Smith, you know, YOU KNOW, can wear bravery. That’s definitely a part he’ll play. Because it fits perfectly with his own vision of and for himself.
I wrote about that vision earlier this week in the post about how he came off during The Hollywood Reporter Actors Roundtable – click here for a refresher. That vision? It might be political. Because in his first podcast, also with The Hollywood Reporter, he tells Scott Feinberg that:
"I’m a climber, so if I see a mountain, I have to climb it. I’m not a camper; I don’t like hanging in one place too long. So I think, at this point, I’m elevating my ability to be useful in the world. I think that that’s what my grandmother always hoped, that I would make myself useful to people in this lifetime. I’m working really hard and my storytelling is elevating, my ability to be eloquent with my body and with my voice and to deliver ideas as an actor is elevating. And, you know, as I look at the political landscape, I think that there might be a future out there for me. They might need me out there. This is the first year that I’ve been incensed to a level that I can’t sleep, you know? So I’m feeling that at some point, in the near future, I will have to lend my voice to the conversation in a somewhat different way."
“They might need me out there.” Does that remind you of anyone? It reminds of this:
“Being a Scientologist, when you drive past an accident, it’s not like anyone else. You drive past, you know you have to do something about it, because you know you’re the only one who can really help!”
Pop gossip quiz! Who said that?
The answer is here, at the 1:04 mark:
Before Will campaigns for the presidency though, he has to campaign for Oscar. Yesterday I wrote about Leonardo DiCaprio’s Best Actor chances and how, right now, no one’s in the ring with him, he’s so far out in front and Michael Fassbender has basically refused to participate. Will is participating, for sure he’s participating. But at this point, while Leo is practically guaranteed a nomination, Will’s fighting for a spot among the five. You can’t get into the ring until you’re invited to the party. But that’s just it. Will might have to spend all of his bank just to be called on nomination morning whereas Leo’s had a nomination locked up from 6 months ago when people started jerking off over the artistic mastery of Alejandro G Inarritu’s man vs wild epic.
Click here to listen to Will’s podcast at THR and/or to read excerpts from the interview.