Will Smith was once a regular celebrity repping his Philadelphia Eagles and enjoying the festivities around the Super Bowl. Apparently, that’s all changed since he began filming the controversial film Concussion.

It’s a film about the link between the violent nature of the game of football, concussions and long-term brain damage. Since researching and filming began, Smith says his eyes have been opened to a new way of looking at the sport. Per a Yahoo! Sports report, he hasn’t watched a full NFL game since.

“I haven’t seen a whole game,” he told Yahoo Movies this week. “I walk through the airport and I’ll see something, or I’ll see a play on the news. It’s really stressful now. It definitely created a conflict for me. It’s still beautiful, it’s still America’s favorite game. That doesn’t change at all. It just has another side, that once you see and once you know and once you understand, you can’t not see.”

The film won’t be out until Christmas Day, but it already has been screened by many reviewers and industry types. Smith’s role as medical examiner turned concerned scientist has garnered plenty of attention, including a Golden Globe nomination and praise all across Hollywood.

However, the film certainly has its critics—including the NFL itself—and Smith has found himself walking a tightrope in his public comments on the film.

It hasn’t stopped him from showing it to the players though, setting up a free screening for the players’ union. Players can also see it for free during its theatrical run. One player described the film as a horror story for his own future and that of others.

“We had a special screening for the players’ union, and a player said, ‘You have to understand, this movie is like a horror film for us,’” Smith recalls. “I never looked at it in that way, because CTE takes years to onset. But he said it was like watching a horror film. The thing that’s amazing is that players, at least the players that I’ve been in contact with, didn’t feel fully informed, and that the film was helpful in that way. It helped to inform them.”

Ultimately, that appears to be Smith’s goal with this film—changing the way people see the game that is so beloved by the American public. But will it bring about changes in the way the game is played or how many people choose to even participate in the sport?

It wouldn’t be the first or won’t be the last film to have a major impact on society, and the film already has made a political impact, with the Energy and Commerce Committee set to take up a study with six doctors during the 2016 calendar year.

Just what the future holds for the sport and for the research remains to be seen though.

[Yahoo! Sports]

About Andrew Coppens

Andy is a contributor to The Comeback as well as Publisher of Big Ten site talking10. He also is a member of the FWAA and has been covering college sports since 2011. Andy is an avid soccer fan and runs the Celtic FC site The Celtic Bhoys. If he's not writing about sports, you can find him enjoying them in front of the TV with a good beer!