The second DC Extended Universe installment released in 2016, Suicide Squad, was a success at the global box office; taking in $746 million in theaters and driving Time Warner to exceed expectations for its third quarter earnings this year. It’s not clear yet exactly what comes next for DC’s “Worst. Heroes. Ever”, be it a Harley Quinn-driven spinoff and/or a direct followup to filmmaker David Ayer’s hit DCEU movie. In the meantime, Ayer is reuniting with Will Smith (who plays Deadshot in Suicide Squad) for a very different, non-DCEU related project.
Ayer and Smith are now in production on their next film together: a buddy cop/fantasy movie titled Bright. The project is based on an original script written by Chronicle screenwriter Max Landis and takes place in a fantastic world that is populated by such creatures as orcs and elves, in addition to humans. Smith stars in Bright as a human cop who ends up partnered with an orc (Joel Edgerton), only to get in over his head when the pair are forced to protect an elf (Lucy Fry) who possesses a highly-dangerous and illegal weapon – in the form of a magic wand – that all sorts of nefarious villains want to get their hands on.
Production on Bright is now underway, as evidenced by the photos that have leaked online from the film’s set in Los Angeles. The photos reveal Smith in a police uniform (with his character’s name, “Ward”, on it) and not much else, but the hope is that additional images will soon leak showing what Edgerton, Fry and/or one of the other cast members in the movie who are playing non-humans, look like in their makeup/costumes. You can check out the photos of Smith on-set over at Coming Soon.
Bright may take place in a universe populated by creatures out of a J.R.R Tolkien fantasy tale, but the film also has elements – cop/crime drama and Los Angeles culture, in particular – that have long been major interests to Ayer, as a storyteller; earning him a semi-cult following for his work on films like Street Kings and End of Watch in the process. Netflix reportedly paid $90 million total to secure the rights to exclusively release Bright through its streaming service, but the film’s actual production budget is $45 million. This suggests the movie should be closest in spirit/form to Ayer’s leaner and meaner R-Rated action/thrillers past (see also Fury), as opposed to the tentpole sensibilities and franchise design of something like Suicide Squad.
Landis, for his part, is currently one of the most prolific screenwriters in the biz; having written several movies released over the past year (see: American Ultra, Victor Frankenstein, and so forth), in addition to having created the BBC TV show Dirk Gently’s Holistic Detective Agency. The quality of Landis’ output has been all over the place, judging by the critical reactions to his work post-Chronicle; but at the same time, both he and Ayer are storytellers who have distinct and somewhat-offbeat voices. For that reason, Ayer and Landis teaming up for a film headlined by A-listers Smith and Edgerton is intriguing enough on its own to make Bright worth keeping an eye on.
Bright debuts on Netflix sometime in 2017. We’ll let you know when an official premiere date is announced.