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Will Smith Reveals How Strong Faith of Grandmother Prepared Him For Role of Christian Doctor in 'Concussion'

( [email protected] ) Dec 29, 2015 11:43 AM EST
Hollywood actor Will Smith recently opened up about how the strong Christian faith of his grandmother prepared him for the role of Dr. Bennet Omalu in the newly released film, Concussion.
Actor Will Smith poses as he arrives for the New York premiere of the film "Concussion" in the Manhattan borough of New York City, December 16, 2015. REUTERS/Mike Segar

Hollywood actor Will Smith recently opened up about how the strong Christian faith of his grandmother prepared him for the role of Dr. Bennet Omalu in the newly released film, Concussion.

The highly-anticipated film, which hit theaters on Tuesday, tells the true story of Dr. Omalu, a Nigerian-American forensic pathologist and devout Christian who discovered that concussions can lead to long-term psychological disorders. Despite the pushback he received from the NFL, Dr. Omalu continued to expose the ugly truth behind such injuries.

"You're going to war with a corporation that owns a day of the week ... the same day that church used to own," Dr. Omalu's supervisor Dr. Cyril Wecht (Albert Brooks) tells him in the film.

In a recent interview with the Christian Post, Smith, who was raised in a Baptist home and attended a Catholic school for much of his young life, revealed that the witnessing the faith of his grandmother prepared him for his latest role.

"My grandmother was really my connection to God," the 47-year-old actor said, "She was my spiritual teacher."

Smith went on to refer to his grandmother as "the most spiritually certain person that I had ever met in my life," and revealed that the biggest challenge in playing Dr. Omalu was trying to reconcile science and spirituality.

"With Bennet, the scientific part was the new addition," the actor said. "Because my grandmother wasn't a woman of science-she was a woman of the spirituality and the Bible."

As reported by the Gospel Herald, Dr. Omalu also opened up about the tremendous role spirituality played in the upcoming film: "[Smith] spent time with me and he was very observant. And, in fact, he had said what made him accept the role was meeting me," the doctor told The Christian Post. "The spiritual stuff is deep. We met, we shared and we communed the love of God, and he also saw the light. The spirit of God also touched him."

While Smith has revealed that he is not overtly religious -- recently referring to himself as a "student of all religions"-- Dr. Omalu contended that the actor is nevertheless a "very good person."

"He reminded me of my childhood perception of America as the land of perfection. He optimizes perfection, it's exceptional, and he put in so much heart and soul, so much energy into this role," he said.

He also encouraged Christians to see the film, as it will encourage them in their walk with the Lord.

"I'm happy when I hear people say 'this is the best he [Smith] has done,' because it was that same spirit of God," Dr. Omalu told the Christian Post. "That is why I want everybody to go see that movie; every Christian should go see that movie, because when you're walking out of that theater after seeing that movie you'll be so proud of our faith as Christians and you'll be so proud of being American."

In a separate interview Religion News Service, Dr. Omalu further explained that in his perspective, faith and science are completely compatible.

"Faith and science go together," he said."They are not antagonistic to each other. There is the humanity of science. Science seeks the truth. Faith seeks the truth. So there is a commonality between science and faith."