Netflix is in negotiations to purchase the rights to Bright, a supernatural cop movie from David Ayer starring Will Smith and Joel Edgerton.
According to The Hollywood Reporter, the company has aggressively outbid its competitors in an effort to widen the commercial appeal of its original film content. Recent Netflix films include the critically praised drama Beasts of No Nation and the Adam Sandler Western spoof The Ridiculous 6, but Bright would be the company’s highest-profile release to date.
Much of the film’s appeal is tied to the ongoing partnership of Smith and Ayers, who previously teamed up for this year’s highly anticipated Suicide Squad. Bright has been described as a cross between Ayer’s 2012 cop movie End of Watch and 1988 sci-fi thriller Alien Nation. Smith plays a human cop who teams up with an Orc (Edgerton) to find a magical wand before it lands in criminal hands. The film’s fantastical script was reportedly penned by Max Landis, the screenwriter whose previous efforts include Chronicle and American Ultra. Landis is also listed as one of the producers, alongside Eric Newman and Bryan Unkeless.
Several of Hollywood Reporter’s sources stress that a deal is “far from done” — possibly because the project was shopped with a budget of $80 million–$100 million and required a production commitment that some studios were reluctant to give. Still, the deal looks promising, and if it does go through it will likely be the start of a new and much more ambitious era for Netflix’s original programming.
Smith is staying busy while the deal gets hammered out, shooting David Frankel’s Collateral Beauty with Kate Winslet, Keira Knightley, and Jonah Hill. Edgerton also has another project in the works, re-teaming with Midnight Special director Jeff Nichols for the historical drama Mildred Loving.