Critics call Bright ‘2017's worst,’ director responds
Filmmaker David Ayer talks to us about his film, which has been panned by the critics
Now that the embargo has ended, critics are calling Bright, ‘The worst movie of 2017’. I’m fairly certain that director David Ayer--whose previous venture, Suicide Squad, was also slammed by critics but went on to earn $745 million in the box office--was expecting such a polarising response.
Having watched a screener days before meeting up with David, who was in Mumbai to promote the film, I was sure that the geek community from across the world would take up arms against Bright. Why? Simply because writer Max Landis’ plot combines many fantasy/sci-fi elements that they are extremely familiar with. So, ten minutes into the one-on-one interview, I ask David some very pointed questions.
More than half of your filmography is filled with films about ‘Law & Order’. Why this obsession?
I think there's built-in drama to policing. The violence of it, the risks involved, and the danger aspect. The police also see the best and worst in people, sometimes in the same moment. They have a life-wisdom because of the things they see. In a lot of ways, they are outsiders to society. They have their own community with its own brother/sisterhood and that culture is very interesting to me.
How do you think Netflix calibrates the success of initiatives like Bright?
Netflix will know. They have algorithms and concepts like 'Valued Hours' to give them feedback. Whether they decide to share this information, that's completely up to them. Look at Stranger Things and the talk surrounding it pointing to hunger for more. Is there going to be a Bright 2? We'll see if the audience wants more and if Netflix will hire me again. Very simple measures (laughs).
In your film Training Day, you dealt with dirty cops. On End of Watch, you showcased a cop duo walking into a really bad situation leading to a gang war. And Bright is Training Day + End Of Watch equals Alien Nation.
Watch the film and decide on your own. Is District 9, Alien Nation (an 80s sci-fi flick in which a cop teams up with an alien) set in South Africa? If you go looking for similarities, a lot of parallels can be drawn.
What would you tell the geek community or hardcore fans of the fantasy genre who are pointing out such huge plot similarities to books like Shadowrun?
You are always inspired by the world you live in. 48 Hours is a huge influence on this film. Walter Hill/Sam Peckinpah are filmmakers I grew up watching and enjoying. I'd never heard of books like Shadowrun until the trailer came out. When people started telling me about it, I was like ‘What the hell is that?’
I played a lot of Dungeons & Dragons, etc--which is why you’ll notice a dragon in the film--but I don’t have the time to read these things anymore. At the end of the day, I’m on the set, writing and making decisions. I’m not idling away in the comments section of YouTube.