The Netflix panel began with the upcoming film Death Note. An adaptation of the popular manga and anime series. Overall the Death Note portion of the panel was rather short was only a few comments from the cast and crew. Director Adam Wingard, producers Roy Lee & Masi Oka, and cast members Nat Wolff, Margaret Qualley and Lakeith Stanfield were all on hand. Lee commented on how he was a fan of Wingard’s work, and Oka stated that Wingard was a huge Anime fan. Wolfe stated that he had created his own Death Note while prepping for the film and while it was difficult at first to add names to the book, as he went on it became easier. The panel received a phone call from William Dafoe’s character Ryuk who heped introduce a clip from the film which Netflix has released below.
There wasn’t much more to the Death Note portion past that. And while personally I’m intrigued by the film after watching that scene, I don’t know that this was enough to calm some of the controversy behind the film. Many fans have been angry that the film doesn’t feature any Asian cast members, and are considering it another case of Hollywood white washing. That being said, I think the film will probably still see some success when it hits Netflix. Fans will hate-watch if nothing else, and the clips with Dafoe’s Ryuk seem really intriguing. Dafoe seems to be channeling his Spider-Man days, with a performance that feels very much like his portrayal of Green Goblin. While I have never read the Manga or seen the Anime, I’ll admit that Dafoe’s performance alone has me sold on the film.
Moving on to the Bright portion of the Netflix panel. Director David Ayer, and stars Noomi Rapace, Edgar Ramirez, Lucy Fry, Joel Edgerton and of course Will Smith were all on hand. After introducing everyone, they premiered the new trailer which Netflix has released online and we’re embedded below.
Right after the trailer reveal David Ayer talked about working on the film and how he was “able to really do his shit” with this film. A comment that may have been a slight jab towards WB/DC given all the issues that plagued Suicide Squad. Will Smith went on to explain the film as a sort of Training Day meets Lord of The Rings. The film takes place in an alternate reality Los Angeles, where fairies and Elves and Orcs and other fantasy creatures live alongside humans. Joel Edgerton plays the first Orc on the LAPD. Smith joked about being able to play the opposite side of racism, with his character being prejudice against Orcs. Edgerton commented on how he called his makeup a couch, because it felt like he was literally putting a couch on his face, with how much foam was applied. His character doesn’t exactly understand wit or humor, and just really wants to be accepted and liked.
Rapace talked about how she could understand her villainous character’s motivations, in that she’s wanting to build a better world for herself and her people. They commented on the fact that the script was written by Max Landis (Chronicle). Ayer went on about how great it was working with Netflix and how much they truly gave him tons of freedom and support. He said that he thinks other filmmakers will go to Netflix in time due to how much creative freedom they allow. Rapace agreed with Ayer, stating that the entire time on set, everything felt very free. They then introduced another clip that consisted of a gun fight in the middle of a convenience store, which highlighted some of the intense and gritty action within the film.
They then took some questions from the audience. Will Smith explained that he tends to lean into Sci-Fi projects due to his love of Star Wars as a kid, and his desire to bring that same feeling to his fans. Smith also talked about the fact that he’s excited to be part of the Netflix movement. Stating that he thinks this is the next step for film, and despite many criticisms he believes that this format won’t kill the theatre structure admitting that he still goes to the theatres to watch films, while also watching movies on Netflix with his family.
Rapace talked about how great Smith was, and told a story about a night shoot where they were on set for hours and Smith stayed there the entire night, even though the only thing he had to do was shoot two quick takes that were reaction shots at the very end of the night. The title of the film is in reference to a term within this world. Brights are people who are meant to wield magic wands and as you can see in the trailer the MacGuffin for the film is essentially the magic wand. They also explained that the wands can give the holder anything they could possibly want, but must be used by someone trained in magic, otherwise they could be destroyed by it’s power.
I have to say I’m rather impressed by both trailers here I think that Death Note is going to be something fun especially with William Dafoe as Ryuk. As for Bright it feels like the movie that I’ve been waiting for since I would say Men in Black 2. It feels like a classic 1990s Will Smith sci-fi film while also playing into more recent sci-fi film tropes where there’s a touch of fantasy and modernism. I have a feeling this is going to be a huge hit for Netflix and may help build up their reputation when it comes to original features. Ironically enough it also feels like it’s the type of film that you would watch and think, this guy would be a great director for a Suicide Squad film. I wasn’t sure how to feel about Bright when the first trailer was released earlier this year, but as of now I’m counting down the days until it’s release on December 22nd.