*After a brief hiatus from acting, Will Smith is about to return to the big screen with two films set for release this year.
Up first is “Focus,” which arrives in theaters Feb. 27, followed by “Concussion.” According to Shadow and Act, the Sony Pictures NFL drama/thriller is based on the GQ article “Game Brain.” The story, written by Jeanne Marie Laskas, follows Dr. Bennet Omalu, a forensic neuropathologist credited with single-handedly making the first discovery of CTE (Chronic Traumatic Encephalopathy) in a pro football player and raising public awareness for the degenerative disease.
Shadow and Act describes the article as “a whistle-blower tale, humanizing the price paid by professional athletes in impact sports, and the political, cultural and corporate interests that fuel the business of professional sports.”
Set to arrive in theaters on Christmas Day (2015), “Concussion” stars Smith as Omalu. The Peter Landesman-directed movie, also features Adewale Akinnuoye-Agbaje, Gugu Mbatha-Raw, Alec Baldwin, Bitsie Tulloch, and Albert Brooks.
“Concussion” is among other upcoming films on CTE that are in development. One of the other films is “Game Time Decision,” Matthew Cherry‘s follow-up to his feature film debut, “The Last Fall.”
The feature will star Isaiah Washington as a retired football player suffering from the effects of concussions sustained during his professional career. “Game Time Decision” highlights Washington’s character as he tries to reconnect with his estranged family, including a son who, in following in his father’s footsteps, is in danger of a similar fate.
With “Concussion” and “Game Time Decision,” both films shine a light on CTE, which is common in individuals with a history of multiple concussions and other forms of head injury. Former NFL players like Junior Seau suffered from the affliction, which reportedly resulted in their deaths.