In what could potentially be another turning point for the folks at Netflix, it appears the streaming juggernaut is nearing talks to buy the thriller Bright. The upcoming film, set to star Will Smith (I Am Legend) and Joel Edgerton (The Great Gatsby), will be directed by David Ayer (Suicide Squad) from a screenplay by Ayer and Chronicle scribe Max Landis. The story was first reported in The Hollywood Reporter.
The magic-infused film centers in a world where mystical creatures live beside humans. The police force even has a division which handles crimes involving magic. In this setting, a human cop (Smith) is tasked to work with an Orc (Edgerton). The pitch for Bright, reportedly, combines the grittiness of Ayer’s previous film End of Watch (2012 cop thriller that starred Jake Gyllenhaal and Michael Peña) with Alien Nation, an obscure 1988 film which starred James Caan and Mandy Patinkin.
With its starry cast and eclectic log-line, it may be surprising and not at the same time, that other distributors flinched at Bright, which likely would need to be an expensive property to work correctly in the first place. Netflix appears willing to roll the dice and with it may come away with their most ambitious movie to date. The streaming service has been very aggressive in the last year to enter the film world- last years’ Beasts of No Nation was game-changing on terms of cementing an awards campaign around a film that would mostly be seen on the streaming service (the film yielded not a single Oscar nomination but actor Idris Elba did win both Screen Actors Guild and Independent Spirit Awards for his performance).
At the 2016 Sundance Film Festival, Netflix also showed its aggressiveness by picking up rights to a slew of films including the Ellen Page-headlined Tallulah and The Fundamentals of Caring starring Paul Rudd. Netflix also has a deal with comedy star Adam Sandler and a potential prestige work on hand later this year with War Machine starring Brad Pitt. Still, Bright may be Netflix’s most aggressive bid to date.
There isn’t exact word yet on when Bright is expected to start to production or when it can be expected to be released. Netflix will likely, if plans follow through, partner with a distributor to ensure a theatrical run of the film, but that has not been confirmed as of yet. We will stay tuned to the latest developments. In the meantime, we can soon enough look forward to the first collaboration between director Ayer and Smith when Suicide Squad opens on August 5th.