Will Smith and friends brief us on their fan­tasy/cop mash-up


Will Smith is a cop bat­tling orcs, elves and fairies in David Ayer’s fan­tasy thriller. Al­ter­na­tive ti­tle: ‘The Frog Prince Of Bel-air’?

THE LAST TIME di­rec­tor David Ayer came to Comic-con, in 2015, it was straight from the set of

Sui­cide Squad with­out grab­bing even a sin­gle Z. “I was fuck­ing shoot­ing, I jumped on a plane, and they dragged me over,” he re­calls, un­happy at the mem­ory. This year, it’s dif­fer­ent. “I’ve got­ten some sleep lately. It’s novel and I rec­om­mend it.”

It’s not just Ayer — the en­tire Bright crew is on ebul­lient form, not least Will Smith, who ac­cuses Joel Edger­ton of grab­bing his ass dur­ing Em­pire’s shoot, later ask­ing, “Any­one got a tis­sue? David made me laugh and cry and mess up my eyes.” They’re in town for a sneak pre­view of their gritty, La-set fairy tale, de­scribed as Train­ing Day meets The Lord Of The Rings. “Meets For­rest

Gump meets Porky’s II,” chimes in Edger­ton. Smith plays Ward, an LAPD cop. Edger­ton is Jakoby, his new part­ner — and the very first non-hu­man to join the force. Bright is set in a par­al­lel re­al­ity where fan­tasy crea­tures co-ex­ist with hu­mans, but not al­ways hap­pily, and Jakoby’s orc is treated with sus­pi­cion, even by his new co-worker. “As a black dude, you just don’t get a lot of movies where you’re the racist,” says Smith. “It’s rugged and pow­er­ful and re­ally bizarre for me to be on the other side of that.”

Ayer de­lib­er­ately cast four non-amer­i­cans to play the pri­mary non-hu­mans: Lucy Fry (elf Tikka) is Aus­tralian, like Edger­ton; Noomi Ra­pace (power-suited elf vil­lain Lila) is Swedish; Édgar Ramírez (flam­boy­ant elf Kan­domere) hails from Venezuela. The quar­tet got a rad­i­cal makeover. “I was fight­ing against the con­tact lenses and teeth at the be­gin­ning,” ad­mits Ra­pace. “But it’s amazing how quickly you adapt.” They also un­der­went some off­beat prep. “David told me to climb a moun­tain and say this elvish prayer ten times at the top,” re­mem­bers Fry.

With its A-list pedi­gree and bud­get, Bright is Net­flix’s big­gest orig­i­nal movie yet. Ayer says he’s not had this much cre­ative con­trol since his first film, Harsh Times, back in 2005. “It’s kind of a dar­ing movie,” he says. “It has all th­ese fan­tasy crea­tures, but they still pay their bills on time, love their fam­i­lies and try to live their lives. It be­comes this in­cred­i­ble tem­plate to study the so­cial is­sues we’re hav­ing right now.”


Orc cop Nick Jakoby (Joel Edger­ton) with hu­man part­ner Daryl Ward (Will Smith).

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