Dr. Bennet Omalu, the real-life subject of “Concussion,” praised Will Smith as he presented the actor with Variety‘s Creative Impact Award on Sunday at a brunch at the Palm Springs Film Festival.
Smith was so convincing in the role that Omalu’s 80-year-old mother was fooled into thinking it was the doctor on screen, Omalu said. “He stole my soul from me. I came away from the film thinking Will Smith was me.”
Smith visited Omalu’s home in Nigeria and several touches in the film, including a picture of his father, came from the visit. Explore the heart and soul of what drives some of the top creative minds in fashion, beauty, and style on their roads to success.
“There is a holiness to truth,” Omalu said. “In stepping up he enlightened all of us.”
While accepting his award, Smith said, “I am a football dad. So when I got that screenplay, I was concerned.” But, “Omalu just wanted to tell the truth and what we do is deliver the truth,” he went on.
Smith pointed out that he has played other real-life figures like Muhammad Ali. And while it’s great to be able to call the subject and ask questions from the set, Smith spoke of the other side of the coin: his point-of-view while Omalu watched his performance.
“You have to sit behind Dr. Omalu. For 45 minutes, nothing, then he turns around and,” Smith flashed a thumbs up to mimic the doctor’s approval.
article by Shalini Dore via Variety.com