Will Smith, who has made a name for himself as a rapper and actor, says that it might be time for him to try another venture. The 47-year-old tells the Hollywood Reporter that he is hopeful he has built a platform for himself as a voice for the people.
“I don’t like hanging in one place too long,” he says. “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.”
Smith also addresses his forthcoming movie, Concussion, which tells the story of Dr. Bennet Omalu, a man who confronted the National Football League about the safety of its players. Smith fully immersed himself in the role, from observing five autopsies to perfecting Omalu’s Nigerian accent.
“I was concerned that I wouldn’t be able to deliver it in a way that wasn’t distracting,” he says. “[I thought], ‘I might not be the actor for this,’ and I looked at it and I worked for about six weeks to get started on the accent, and then it fell into a place where I started to feel confident that I could dial it down to a level that it was authentic, but not distracting.”
Smith applauds the filmmakers for not being afraid of the multi-billion dollar company that is the NFL.
“We had no intention of watering any aspect of this film down,” he says. “The entire point that Bennet Omalu was making was ‘Tell the truth,’ you know? So our big struggle was not to sensationalize, and we kept very heavy focus on making sure the things that we were saying and the things that we were doing in the film [were accurate]. Even the juxtaposition of imagery is a huge thing — what you’re cutting from [and] to makes a statement. So we were very, very careful to make sure that we weren’t trying to paint good guys and bad guys. Bennet kept saying, ‘The truth doesn’t have a side.'”
Concussion is due out in theaters nationwide December 25.