NFL Concussions and Mental Toll of Football at Heart of New Ridley Scott Movie

Gabe ZaldivarPop Culture Lead WriterNovember 11, 2013

Oct 27, 2013; Denver, CO, USA; Washington Redskins quarterback Robert Griffin III (10) throws the ball away as he's hit by Denver Broncos linebacker Von Miller (58) during the second half at Sports Authority Field at Mile High. The Broncos won 45-21. Mandatory Credit: Chris Humphreys-USA TODAY Sports
Chris Humphreys-USA TODAY Sports

Concussions in the NFL are an increasingly visible problem—one that affects so many familiar names and faces. Now, it seems, the plight has its director. 

Deadline Hollywood's Mike Fleming Jr. (h/t The Big Lead) reports that famed director Ridley Scott is set to helm a new drama centered on the issue of concussions in the NFL:

...he and producing partner Giannina Facio have been meeting with A-list writers for what he hopes will be the next film he directs. Scott wants to create a drama focusing on the debilitating effects that concussions are having on our sports heroes, and the role that league owners play in allowing it to happen. His plan is to create a morality tale on that issue, much the way that Michael Mann’s The Insider took on the tobacco industry’s complicity in covering up the addictive and cancer-causing effects of cigarette smoking.

Don't expect anything that might resemble the gladiator-styled Any Given Sunday, but don't think for a moment that Scott will skimp on ways to captivate the audience. 

Nov 10, 2013; San Diego, CA, USA; Denver Broncos quarterback Peyton Manning (18) on the field after being hit on a pass play during the second half against the San Diego Chargers at Qualcomm Stadium. The Broncos won 28-20. Mandatory Credit: Christopher Ha
Christopher Hanewinckel-USA TODA

If we are looking for a director to catch the eye while also delivering a message, Scott would have to be up there on a list of directors who could meet those ends. From Alien and Legend to Prometheus, he shows an uncanny ability to craft wonderful scenes that immerse audiences. With films like Black Hawk Down and Gladiator, action is delivered in ample doses but with hardly the over-the-top pandering of most Hollywood hits. 

So, really, if you want a movie that has some action, atmosphere and actual nuance, Scott is a pretty darn good choice. 

As Fleming writes, this was hardly one studio hoping to nab the right director, though.

It seems Scott is taking the movie into his own hands because of what is becoming a far more public issue in the NFL: "He has been moved reading all that has been written on athletes including former NFL stars Junior Seau and Dave Duerson, both of whom committed suicide after suffering chronic traumatic encephalopathy..."

If ever there were a time to hop aboard and craft a movie to this end, it would be now. The Frontline documentary League of Denial did well to open eyes and minds to an ongoing plight of football players of all levels. 

Rather than direct a movie about the usual monsters of the gridiron doing battle in front of a football-mad mob, Scott hopes to tell the rare tale of the effects of those battles. 

You see, NFL players are hardly the unbreakable beasts or indestructible warriors found in other movies and across all strata of pop culture. They are just men, and there is a very real cost levied throughout their career. Scott is the right man to tell their story. 


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