Will Smith: I Was Drawn to the ‘Social Undertones’ in Netflix’s ‘Bright’

Will Smith has never been afraid to take on a risky role and that’s no different in Bright, Netflix’s urban fantasy crime film.

“It’s bizarre. It’s this gritty, hard cop drama [in the] L.A. streets, underworld and all of that hard flavor. But there are orcs, elves and fairies. It’s a mashup. I’d never read anything like this,” Smith told Us Weekly and other reporters at the film’s premiere on Wednesday, December 13, in Westwood, Cali. “Men in Black had a little bit of that flavor, but not the hard R-rated, cop drama element.”

Will Smith in ‘Bright‘
Will Smith in ‘Bright‘ Scott Garfield/Netflix

Smith added that he was hooked to the concept and the “social undertones” that come through loud and clear. “My character is a black police officer that’s racist against orcs. To dive into that and be able to look at society through that lens was exciting to me,” he added.

So maybe if these “orcs” or aliens came to Earth, racism and sexism would be gone? “Any time you have a bigger common enemy, people come together,” Smith told Us. “You’ll be fighting, and somebody that’s about to hurt your move says, ‘Hey man. We should probably cool out one second.’”

Will Smith behind the scenes while filming ‘Bright‘
Will Smith behind the scenes while filming ‘Bright‘ Matt Kennedy/Netflix

This is the first Netflix film that Smith has been a part of, along with Suicide Squad director, David Ayers. “This is the type of movie you couldn’t have even made anywhere else. This is a rated-R, hard, violent $100-plus million movie,” Smith said. “It’s like no studio is making that. For Netflix, it’s like an outlet for a kind of creation you wouldn’t be able to do anywhere.”

“[Netflix] really got out of the way and let me make the movie I wanted to make, let me have my voice and give me the resources to do it,” Ayers told Us, adding that after creating such a great relationship with Smith during Suicide Squad, he couldn’t pass up the chance to work with him again.

“We have this trust and shorthand together. He’s a good dude. Life is short, so just surround yourself with awesome people,” he said.

Bright premieres on Netflix on December 22.

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