Joel Edgerton, star of the new Netflix film, Bright, says that the true sign of success is seeing people dressed as your character on Halloween. In Bright, Edgerton, known for juggling roles in huge tentpoles and small indies, plays an orc and spent three hours in the makeup chair every day.
Edgerton was in town to attend the film’s Mumbai premiere, and to interact with the press along with his co-stars, Will Smith, Noomi Rapace and director David Ayer.
The Australian actor spoke about the film’s themes of finding harmony in a divided world.
“For somebody who grew up in my small town in Australia suddenly landed in Mumbai, to take them out of their normal experience and into another culture, that’s what this movie is proposing,” he said. “How do we fit in together, how do all get along, and how do we do that by not judging each other and not being violent towards each other.”
Edgerton’s character in Bright, the streaming giant’s biggest original film yet with a reported budget of close to $100 million, is an outsider – an orc subjected to bigotry and prejudice.
In the film’s alternate reality, orcs occupy the same space as minorities would in our world. The elves are at the top of the social pyramid – the one-percenters – while the humans are sandwiched in between.
Edgerton brought up Get Out, Jordan Peele’s horror hit from earlier this year that explored what it is like to live as a black man in modern America. He said that while Bright tackles an important subject, “it isn’t pretending to be too serious in its delivery.”
Bright has one foot in a land of fantasy, but Edgerton hopes the film inspires a conversation about some of the most pressing issues that plague modern America – police brutality, racism, and corruption.
“By talking about it in a movie like this - it’s a buddy comedy - there’s a chance to reach a wider audience and have a chance at resonating in a simple way,” he said.