After extolling the virtues of Netflix during his stint as a Cannes Film Festival jury member, Will Smith continued to stand behind the streaming service during its Comic-Con panel for Bright this afternoon. “It’s interesting to be at the forefront of a new way to consume entertainment. I’m extremely excited to see where this thing goes. There’s been a lot of debate about it,” said Smith about how Netflix is another rung in how we consume movies and TV.
Referring to how his teenage kids watch movies, Smith added, “the films that they go to see in the theater and the films that they watch on Netflix don’t cross.”
“This may not quite land with you guys,” said Bright director David Ayer on how Netflix is allowing A-grade filmmakers to feasibly make films outside the studio system. “But (Netflix) is the opposite of what the real situation is with other filmmakers. They’re going to pull a lot more talent. They’re supportive of the process. It feels like it’s 20 years ago with them.”
“This ain’t no PG-13 studio movie. This is real sh*t,” Ayer said.
“Netflix let me have my voice and they gave the actors space,” said Ayer about the freedom he had to make a gritty, socially conscious LAPD movie co-starring Orcs and Elves with Netflix; a gamble for any other studio.
“This is how Netflix does their business. They asked what’s the best place to shoot this movie? It’s Los Angeles,” said Ayer.
“You can’t shoot Los Angeles in Atlanta,” said producer Eric Newman.
“Netflix gave me all the tools, the resources to make this movie. The environment on set felt like an independent film,” added the director.
Bright starts streaming on December 22. Smith plays a detective who is partnered with the first Orc on the LAPD force. They’re after evil Elves played by Noomi Rapace and Edgar Ramirez. Bright refers to the magic user Lucy Fry plays in the film. She’s in possession of an ancient wand which is highly coveted.
Smith quipped about the racial themes in Bright.
“Joel plays the first Orc on the LAPD. It felt really great to be an African American police officer; they found somebody else to be racist against,” he said. “I’ve never been on that side of racism when you’re black: ‘Listen, man, I don’t want no Orcs in my car!’ ”