David Ayer Talks Netflix’s $90M “Bright” Deal

In news that shocked Hollywood this past week, Netflix won a bidding war for “Suicide Squad” director David Ayer’s next film “Bright” starring Joel Edgerton and Will Smith.

The streaming service will fund and release the $90 million-budget fantasy thriller is described as being akin to Ayer’s on the ground and gritty cop drama “End of Watch” but here it’s set in a world in which orcs and fairies exist along humans.

Speaking about the deal with Deadline, Ayer said the streaming service provided a level of creative freedom that isn’t easy to find:

“Netflix is this disruptive company that is at the forefront of how the business is evolving. Sitting in the cockpit as director and looking over the horizon, you see changes happening daily. That includes Screening Room.

Netflix is deeply biting into cable viewership and it’s clearly the future of the entertainment industry, which is on-demand and portable devices. To bring a flagship project into that world and have the opportunity to be the tip of the spear, I felt like we were given a hunting license to be truly creative, and to do what I love.”

Talking in the same piece, screenwriter Max Landis revealed that the project is one that a studio would’ve bought and tamed, softening scenes such as where an Orc holds a man at knifepoint and calls him a “dumb motherf–ker”. Ayer isn’t sure about the theatrical release plans for the film, but isn’t expected to feel restrained to fit a specific rating which will likely be an R (and a hard one):

“I can’t even speak to any theatrical release plans for this, I don’t even know if that’s going to happen and it wasn’t my priority. I was after the creative freedom, the ability to make really hard R rated movies with vision and voice, and see them play in the on-demand world.

You do that as a theatrical release, and you’d better hit a bulls eye, some cultural zeitgeist. Otherwise it’s a gamble for studios; it’s easier for them to justify $200M budgets for tent poles than $40M to $90M for the movies I like to make.”

Filming is slated to begin this Fall with Ayer and Smith to shoot the film before moving on to a potential “Suicide Squad” sequel.