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In its biggest movie deal yet, Netflix is looking to get into the film business with Will Smith and David Ayer.
The company has come out on top of the bidding war and is in negotiations for Bright, the magic-infused cop thriller package that has Will Smith and Joel Edgerton attached to star and Suicide Squad helmer David Ayer attached to direct. Max Landis, the writer of Chronicle and American Ultra, penned the script.
Several sources caution that a deal is far from done, however.
Bright‘s story is described as a mixing of End of Watch, Ayer’s own 2012 gritty cop movie, and Alien Nation, the 1988 sci-fi thriller that starred James Caan and Mandy Patinkin as a human and an alien cop forced to work together.
In Bright, the setting is a world where magical creatures live side by side with humans and the police have a division handling crimes involving magic. A human cop (Smith) is forced to work with an Orc (Edgerton) to find something that unsavory elements are prepared to kill for — a powerful wand.
Eric Newman and Bryan Unkeless are producing, as is Landis.
Netflix has been making aggressive strides into movie content, but for the most part, its efforts have been modestly scaled and without wide commercial appeal. It has a deal for a series of Adam Sandler comedies, but he is seen as an actor whose big-screen power has waned.
Netflix made the acclaimed drama Beasts of No Nation with Idris Elba, but that movie is said to have suffered during the Oscar race due to not being widely seen.
With Bright, Netflix would have a project that reunites Smith and Ayer, a duo that is generating heat due to the buzz on Warners’ upcoming Suicide Squad. The studio wants Ayer to jump into a sequel as soon as possible, but insiders say that the director wanted to do something else first before returning to the land of DC villains.
The project was shopped as a film with a budget of $80 million-$100 million and required a production commitment — something that was a worry for some suitors. (One studio was ready to go all in at $55 million, but that offer was rejected.)
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