Netflix is really going all-in on its original films slate in 2017. Not only did they pick up a serious awards contender at Sundance in Mudbound, but they’ve got a genuine blockbuster on the docket in the form of Bright. Written by Max Landis (Chronicle), the film blends the worlds of a gritty cop drama and a high fantasy like Lord of the Rings, with Training Day scribe and Suicide Squad director David Ayer at the helm. Will Smith and Joel Edgerton both signed on to star as the project was looking for a studio, but Netflix snatched it up for a pretty penny and production began last fall.
The first teaser for the film aired during the Oscars—yet another sign that Netflix is swinging for the fences—and now some new images have surfaced online as Smith and Edgerton are offering up more details about the story.
Smith plays a human cop who is teamed up with an orc cop—the first of his kind to join the force. Speaking with EW, Smith describes Edgerton’s character as “the Jackie Robinson of orcs” while Edgerton reveals his character comes into the force already under scrutiny:
“I am the first orc, under a diversity program, to be allowed into the police force. I’m under investigation already for an incident that involved an orc who should have been apprehended but managed to escape. The feeling is that I looked after my own kind first and neglected to do my job as a result.”
Smith adds that Edgerton’s character has a lot on his shoulders, while Smith’s character is also being judged:
“[Edgerton’s character] has to make it go right, or other orcs won’t have a shot. So he’s taking on the social responsibility of being a good cop, with the weight of his people on his shoulders… I’m getting ridiculed by other members of the police force. In their interpretation, I’m giving him a fair shot, and I should really just be trying to get him off of the force.”
The film looks to be tackling issues of racism head on, albeit under the guise of this very fantastical concept. Indeed, while it’s a cop drama at heart, the story also involves the discovery of a magical relic, “an artifact of the Dark Lord’s war against humanity.”
In the world of Bright using magic is illegal, so that offers even more complications for the central characters. Ayer certainly has a knack for portraying relationships onscreen be it in a war setting like Fury or the streets of Los Angeles in End of Watch. But with Suicide Squad he caught the sci-fi/fantasy bug and thus was keen on further exploring that kind of genre filmmaking in Bright.