COMIC-CON SPECIAL — BRIGHT
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.”
BRIGHT IS ON NETFLIX FROM 22 DECEMBER
Orc cop Nick Jakoby (Joel Edgerton) with human partner Daryl Ward (Will Smith).