With the NFL making headlines this week in all the wrong ways, Roger Goodell is probably none too happy to hear that an untitled, Ridley Scott-produced drama about football concussions is moving forward. Recently, Drive actor Albert Brooks joined the film, which is already set to star Will Smith and Alec Baldwin. Additionally, Belle actress Gugu Mbatha-Raw, who has never been hotter thanks to an acclaimed turn in Beyond the Lights, is in talks for a major role in the project, though specifics on her part have not been revealed.
Brooks, who will next appear in the buzzy J.C. Chandor period drama A Most Violent Year, is set to portray Cyril Wecht. As per Deadline, Wecht is the “chief forensic pathologist who mentors forensic neuropathologist Dr. Bennet Omalu (Smith) and encourages him to press his discovery of CTE, the concussion syndrome that has been fatal in contributing to the suicides of former NFL superstars Dave Duerson and Junior Seau.”
The project, which Peter Landesman (Parkland) is writing and directing, working from a GQ article titled “Brain Game,” will undoubtedly ruffle a few feathers at the NFL. After Omalu and Wecht’s research, the league ended up shelling out $765 million in a settlement regarding the long-term consequences of concussions on football players.
With Brooks, Mbatha-Raw, Smith and Baldwin all on board, this is definitely a project to keep an eye on. News that the pic is going ahead may be bad for the NFL, but it’s certainly great news for cinephiles of all persuasions. Though Landesman’s Parkland was a bit disappointing, he’s working with an absolutely stellar cast here, and there’s every reason to suspect that this film will prove to be equal parts exciting and enlightening.