12:57pm PT by Arlene Washington
'Bright' Cast on Its Racial Undertones and a Possible Sequel
When Will Smith first read the script for Netflix's Bright, the first word that came to his mind was "bizarre."
“It’s this gritty, hard cop drama," said Smith at the film's premiere Wednesday night in Los Angeles. "There’s L.A. streets and underworld and all that hard flavor, but there’s orcs and elves and fairies. It’s a mashup that I’ve never really read anything like this. The closest I’ve experienced is Men in Black had a little of that flavor, but not the hard, rated-R cop drama element.”
The fantasy film reteams Smith with Suicide Squad director David Ayer, which was a draw for the actor, as was the idea that his character "is a black police officer that’s racist against Orcs."
"To dive into that and to be able to look at society through that lens was exciting to me," said Smith.
Bright brings the supernatural to Los Angeles as Smith and Edgerton star as a human and Orc cop, respectively, who team up to stop a magical force from impacting the city. The massive $90 million Netflix feature film — shot in Los Angeles and written by Chronicle's Max Landis — explores racial undertones while intertwining a fantasy world with elves, fairies and more against an intense soundtrack featuring artists including Migos, Machine Gun Kelly, Kehlani, Ty Dolla Sign and Bebe Rexha, who all turned out to walk the black carpet at the premiere.
“What’s great with Netflix, this is the type of movie you couldn’t have even made anywhere else," said Smith of the streaming giant's original film venture. "This is a rated-R hard, violent $100-plus million-dollar movie. No studio is making that. For Netflix, it’s like an outlet for a kind of creation that you wouldn’t be able to do anywhere.”
Producer Eric Newman is hopeful for a Bright sequel as there is plenty of material left to explore.
“Were there to be another film, there’s certainly enough material unexplored within the world that David and [screenwriter] Max [Landis] have created where we can continue to explore it," said Newman
Ayer spoke to the audience before the film screening, where he called working with Smith a “fantastic partnership" and lauded Edgerton for sitting through three "brutal" hours of makeup daily to transform into an Orc whose race gets the short end of the stick in the film: "He showed up to the base camp before anybody and was the last to leave. He really suffered creating a fantastic performance."
The director also didn't rule out a possible Bright sequel when speaking to THR.
“Let’s see what the audience says after it opens,” Ayer told THR. “If the audience wants another one who knows.”
After the screening, guests including Tiffany Haddish and Vince Vaughn joined the cast at the afterparty — designed to look like the grungy, fantasy world of Bright outside the Regency Village Theater in Westwood — complete with "Orc food," dancers and a DJ spinning hits that had everyone dancing, including Chris Rock and girlfriend Megalyn Echikunwoke, Ayer, Haddish and Edgerton.
Bright starts streaming on Netflix on Dec. 22.