Netflix has a lot riding on Bright, the streaming service’s first $100 million action blockbuster.
Bright is a action-fantasy movie in a futuristic world where humans, elves and orcs live in separate societal classes. Elves are the most powerful, followed by humans and then orcs, who are disregarded by just about everyone. At San Diego Comic-Con, director David Ayer said the movie would also be packed with car chases, violent fights and traditional blockbuster moments. Ayer is no stranger to blockbuster movies, having directed last year’s Suicide Squad and Fury, but Netflix affords Ayer something he couldn’t get with either of those films: freedom.
Noomi Rapace, the actress who plays a dangerous, evil elf in Bright, told Polygon that Ayer’s Bright is a product of everything he wants to do with action movies. Rapace said that without notes from Netflix about the movie — and without having to worry about designing a movie for a PG-13 audience — Ayer could bring his full vision to the screen.
“I was talking to David and I think he really enjoyed the freedom he got with Bright,” Rapace said. “It was a new experience! He really got to make the movie that he wanted to do, which I’m thankful for.”
Rapace told Polygon that her character, which can be seen in the trailer above, is a “fearless, beautiful, villainous elf” who plays an important role for the two main characters, an orc named Nick Jakoby (Joel Edgerton) and a human named Daryl Ward (Will Smith). Jakoby is the first orc to become an LAPD officer. When he’s paired up Ward, tensions between the two grow. It’s only through working together to take down Rapace’s character that years of social prejudice and discrimination are chipped away.
“Bright is a reminder that it’s very important that we se everything in all of its complexity,” Rapace said. “To not judge too soon, to not say this specific group of people who look a certain way or practice a certain religion are bad guys or witches. Life and situations will shape us, but we shouldn’t judge people too soon. That’s the core of Bright. That’s what we’re trying to tell people.”
Bright is a movie that Rapace is passionate about, crafted around a message she believes the world needs to be reminded of now more than ever. The actress told Polygon that Netflix producing and distributing the movie means people around the world will be able to see it, something that a bigger, more traditional studio may not push. When asked for her opinion on the streaming service’s branch into film producing, which has sparked considerable debate among theater-loving actors and creatives, Rapace echoes Smith’s comments from San Diego Comic-Con.
“Listen, some movies should have theatrical releases, obviously,” Rapace said. “They do better. Some movies work being watched at home. It’s something that we need to evolve [to] and adjust [to]. We all work in the same business. It’s not two waring sides. Having Netflix and being able to stream a move on the wall … there’s something democratic about it; it’s for everyone. I can see where some filmmakers can critique Netflix and the dangers associated with it if people stop going to the theaters. I think it’s such a different experience though. I’m not scared of the future and I believe in change.
“At the end of the day, more great films will come out this because of Netflix.”
Rapace can be seen in Bright when it hits the streaming service on Dec. 22. Before then, the actress stars in Unlocked, an action-drama in which she plays a CIA agent caught in the middle of a bioterrorism threat. Unlocked will hit theaters on Sept. 1.