Actor Will Smith debuted another leading movie role in the first trailer for Concussion— and was slammed for it almost immediately.
In the sports drama film, Smith plays Dr. Bennet Malu — the forensic pathologist that discovered a progressive degenerative disease in two NFL stars that committed suicide.
The trailer shines a spotlight on Will Smith’s character as he makes the discovery and fights to have the truth revealed, despite the opposition he must encounter and overcome along the way.
In his quest to create an authentic portrayal of the Nigerian native, however, Will Smith apparently used a Nigerian accent.
Based on many of the reactions and responses posted to Twitter, the Oscar-nominated actor’s attempt at pulling off a Nigerian accent was not very successful at all.
RT @SOruthless_305 That’s supposed to be a Nigerian accent Will Smith is doing? Mmmm, k. pic.twitter.com/cuO9PL66k8
— Sex Fàbregas (@Nigerianscamsss) August 31, 2015
Kickstarter plans: A dialect coach for whatever is going on with Will Smith’s “African” accent here. https://t.co/zbgauL5Igo
— Rachel Gichinga (@Raaheli) August 31, 2015
Will Smith’s Naija accent in that movie is going to cause several Twitter civil wars. — mobbdeen (@Deen8) August 31, 2015
Guys, I mean this: If you pay money to see Will Smith with a bad accent lecture men in suits about head trauma, the terrorists have won.
— adam smoot (@adamsmoot) August 31, 2015
This is not the first time that Will Smith has been ridiculed by fans and critics for using a different accent on the big-screen. In the 2013 M. Night Shyamalan-directed film, After Earth, the former Fresh Prince of Bel-Air star used a confusing accent that did not go over very well with quite a few people.
I still can’t figure out Will Smith’s accent in After Earth.
— Zach Harper (@talkhoops) January 31, 2015
During a February, 2015, interview with Esquire, Will Smith opened up about how he felt about After Earth— especially since the movie was considered a major flop commercially and critically.
“That was a valuable lesson for me a few years ago with ‘After Earth.’ That was the most painful failure in my career… ‘Wild Wild West’ was less painful than ‘After Earth’ because my son was involved in ‘After Earth,’ and I led him into it. That was excruciating.”
Fans and critics will likely watch Concussion to see Will Smith’s performance and whether or not his Nigerian accent will improve at some point during the movie.
However, Mike Florio, with NBC Sports, reported that the NFL has already prepared for the Christmas Day release of the Peter Landesman-directed film for a different reason.
“The NFL already is making plans for the potential concussion-related embarrassment that it never will be able to silence… Per a league source, owners spent significant time at their May 2015 meeting discussing how to deal with and respond to the movie, ‘Concussion.’ “
Chances are that, based on the controversial story being told through this sports drama film, Concussion may still be a huge box-office hit, whether Will Smith succeeds or fails with his portrayal of Dr. Omalu.
[Image Credit: Kevin Winter / Getty Images]